Safe Shellfish Program

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

Puget Sound is home to crab, clams, oysters, mussels and other seafood. We make sure you know when it’s safe to harvest and eat them in Pierce County.

Sometimes these areas are temporarily closed. Reasons include:

  • Shellfish contain biotoxins 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 poor water quality are:

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

We partner up to fix it

We work with community partners to identify pollution sources and correct them. 

We are a member of South Sound Clean Water Partners, which protects and improves water quality in areas with shellfish.

Other members of the team include:

For more information:

Commercial shellfish protection

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

Do you want to know what is happening in your bay? Join a water quality team meeting in your area. Each shellfish protection district has a team that meets quarterly. South Sound Clean Water Partners discuss water quality and their current work in that area. They coordinate to improve water quality. You can find the most recent meeting notes and current water quality conditions at the bottom of this page.

Want more information?

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

Resources

Water Quality Team Meeting Notes and Water Quality Data

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