Safe Shellfish Program
Our local beaches and waterways along Puget Sound give us the opportunity to harvest crab, clams, oysters, mussels, and other foods from the sea. We make sure you can safely harvest and consume shellfish in Pierce County.
There are many recreational shellfish areas in Pierce County (see map for information on each beach). Some may be closed on a temporary basis due to high concentrations of shellfish biotoxins like Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) or illnesses due to Vibrio. Some may be closed to prevent over-harvesting. Some have experienced a decline in water quality, limiting the ability to harvest clams and oysters. The decline in water quality of these growing areas can be caused by failing septic systems, poor animal keeping practices, or stormwater runoff.
The Health Department is a member of the Pierce County Shellfish Partners team that protects and improves water quality in the shellfish watersheds. Other members of the team include Pierce County Surface Water Management, Pierce Conservation District, Harbor Wildwatch, and Citizens for a Healthy Bay, along with a number of other government agencies and organizations.
The Shellfish Partners work is detailed in the:
- Pollution Prevention, Identification and Correction Manual
- Pierce County Shellfish Partners Strategic Plan
The Partners’ efforts have helped improve water quality in a number of shellfish areas in Pierce County. See more here.
The Health Department works to identify and correct failing septic systems and takes many water samples to help identify other problem areas.
Get Shellfish Advisory Alerts by Email
Click here and select the Surface Water and Shellfish Advisories list and other subjects you may be interested in.
Pierce County has four Shellfish Protection Districts: Rocky Bay, Vaughn Bay, Burley Lagoon and Filucy Bay. Each Shellfish Protection District has a Water Quality Team that meets quarterly to discuss activities occurring in these areas directed at improving water quality. See links to meeting notes below.
Burley Lagoon Water Quality Team Meeting Notes
Filucy Bay Water Quality Team Meeting Notes
Rocky Bay Water Quality Team Meeting Notes
Vaughn Bay Water Quality Team Meeting Notes
Want more information? Call us at (253) 798-6470 extension 7, or email us.
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