Washington oysters | KNKX

Washington oysters

Wesley Hull / Courtesy of Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association

A federal judge has thrown out a general permit for the shellfish industry in Washington that has reduced the regulatory burden on them for decades. Now, growers will have to apply individually to continue existing operations. And an industry group is planning to appeal.

Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

Oyster growers in Southwest Washington have given up on their push to use a controversial neurotoxin to control burrowing shrimp. The shrimp can turn oyster beds into quicksand that suffocates the shellfish.  The growers have dropped an appeal before the state Pollution Control Hearings Board, in favor of a settlement agreement with the state department of ecology.  

In this file photo from May 2015, Eric Hall, a manager for Taylor Shellfish, displays burrowing shrimp from the mud below his feet at low tide in Willapa Bay. Last April, state ecology officials denied a permit for imidacloprid to control the shrimp.
Elaine Thompson / The Associated Press

Oyster growers want to force the state Department of Ecology to allow the use of pesticides in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. A bill before the state Legislature would require the agency to grant permits to control burrowing shrimp. It also would transfer oversight and regulation of the pesticides to the state Department of Agriculture.

oyster grower on a boat
Parker Miles Blohm / KNKX

GRAYS HARBOR, WASH. — An oyster shack tops the list of offerings in the local farm fresh guide here. No visit would be complete without exploring the shellfish industry. The region, together with Willapa Bay, produces 25 percent of all oysters in the country. But currently, growers are facing a big challenge.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Oyster growers on the Washington coast will have a chance to convince regulators to let them use a controversial pesticide to control native burrowing shrimp. The shrimp can infest oyster beds and turn them into quicksand. Members of the Willapa Bay Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association say they’ve lost hundreds of acres of tidelands to the problem.

Ted S. Warren/file / AP Photo

It’s been five years since Washington first launched a strategy to tackle ocean acidification. A new report from the state says it’s still getting worse, but advances are being made on how to adapt and mitigate the problem.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

A proposal to spray a neurotoxic pesticide on oyster beds in Southwest Washington is back on the table. Growers in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are looking for ways to address an infestation of burrowing shrimp.

The state is taking comments on the controversial plan through Wednesday.

Driving up the coast toward Bay Center, Wash., it's obvious when you start to approach Willapa Bay. Fifteen-foot high piles of empty shells begin to appear on the side of the road. This is an oyster town.

But it's also home to a sinking piece of history.

Photo courtesy of Washington State Dept. of Ecology

Carbon emissions are threatening Washington’s shellfish industry. That’s the concern of the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which meets today in Seattle.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington health officials say five people in the state got sick from eating raw oysters that were harvested from an area of Puget Sound's Hood Canal and distributed to 23 states.