Safe Shellfish Program

Get tips on safe shellfish harvesting and how to prevent Vibrio here.


Current Shellfish Advisories Map

Last Updated October 24, 2014

  • Colvos Passage is closed to butter clams only.
  • Carr Inlet, including Burley Lagoon, is closed to butter and varnish clams only.
  • Hale Passage, including Wollochet Bay, is closed to butter and varnish clams only.
*All species means clams (including geoduck), oysters, mussels and other invertebrates such as moon snail. All areas are closed for the sport harvest of scallops. Closures do not apply to shrimp. Crabmeat is not known to contain PSP toxin, but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (butter).

Our local beaches and waterways along Puget Sound give us the opportunity to harvest crab, clams, oysters, mussels, and other foods from the sea. The Safe Shellfish Program promotes the safe harvesting and consumption of 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 such as Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP). 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 due to failing septic systems, poor animal keeping practices, or storm-water runoff.

The Health Department has a Shellfish Watersheds Water Quality Program that provides continuous and flexible resources to protect water quality in Pierce County's shellfish watersheds. The Health Department works to identify and correct failing septic systems and takes many water samples to help identify other problem areas. Part of this program includes partnering with Pierce Conservation District and Pierce County Surface Water Management.

Click here to receive shellfish advisory alerts via email and select the Surface Water and Shellfish Advisories list and other subjects you may be interested in.

For more information call the Health Department at (253) 798-6470 extension 7 or email us.