Safe Shellfish Program

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We make sure you know when it’s safe to harvest and eat shellfish.

Puget Sound provides opportunities to harvest crab, clams, oysters, mussels and other seafood. We make sure you know when it’s safe to harvest and eat shellfish from Pierce County beaches.

Sometimes Pierce County shellfish harvesting areas are temporarily closed. Reasons for closure include:

  • Biotoxins in shellfish that can kill you.
  • Reported illnesses due to Vibrio.
  • To prevent over-harvesting.
  • Water quality concerns.

Check these maps:

What causes poor water quality?

Some common causes of a decline in water quality are:

  • Failing septic systems.
  • Poor animal keeping practices.
  • Stormwater runoff.

How can we fix it?

Partner up.

Our staff identify and correct pollution sources and work with community partners to improve water quality.

We are a member of South Sound Clean Water Partners that protect and improve water quality in areas with shellfish.

Other members of the team include:

For more information, see our:

Commercial shellfish protection

Pierce County has four Shellfish Protection Districts that were formed after several acres were closed due to poor water quality:

Each Shellfish Protection District has a Water Quality Team. They coordinate activities to improve water quality.

Want more information?

Contact us at or (253) 798-6470 and press 7.


Water Quality Data and Meeting Notes

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