Pollution prompts state to restrict shellfish harvesting

Part of Port Susan — the bay east of Camano Island — is closed, and other areas are deemed threatened.

OLYMPIA — State officials have closed part of Port Susan to commercial shellfish harvesting after an annual water-quality evaluation turned up high levels of pollution.

Officials said part of Port Susan — the bay between Camano Island and the mainland — does not meet public health standards. The state Department of Health is working with local partners and tribal governments to fix the problem.

The evaluation found a high level of fecal coliform bacteria near the mouth of the Stillaguamish River, said Scott Berbells, manager of the department’s shellfish growing area section. Before the new closure, 323 acres had already been restricted from commercial harvests. That will grow with the new closure, the size of which officials still need to determine.

The state also released a list of 18 shellfish harvest areas that meet water quality standards but are threatened with restrictions due to bacterial pollution. They include parts of the south Sound and coastal waters, as well as areas in Kitsap, Skagit and Whatcom counties.

People can help the situation by maintaining septic systems, picking up pet waste, using pump-out stations for boats and recreational vehicles, and managing animal waste from farms, according to the state.

The state Department of Health uses national standards to classify all 110 commercial harvest areas in Washington. Recreational harvesters can get up-to-date information on the state’s shellfish safety map: fortress.wa.gov/doh/biotoxin/biotoxin.html.

Talk to us

More in Local News

An example of the Malicious Women Co. products (left) vs. the Malicious Mermaid's products (right). (U.S. District Court in Florida)
Judge: Cheeky candle copycat must pay Snohomish company over $800K

The owner of the Malicious Women Co. doesn’t expect to receive any money from the Malicious Mermaid, a Florida-based copycat.

A grave marker for Blaze the horse. (Photo provided)
After Darrington woman’s horse died, she didn’t know what to do

Sidney Montooth boarded her horse Blaze. When he died, she was “a wreck” — and at a loss as to what to do with his remains.

A fatal accident the afternoon of Dec. 18 near Clinton ended with one of the cars involved bursting into flames. The driver of the fully engulfed car was outside of the vehicle by the time first responders arrived at the scene. (Whidbey News-Times/Submitted photo)
Driver sentenced in 2021 crash that killed Everett couple

Danielle Cruz, formerly of Lynnwood, gets 17½ years in prison. She was impaired by drugs when she caused the crash that killed Sharon Gamble and Kenneth Weikle.

A person walks out of the Everett Clinic on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The Everett Clinic changing name to parent company Optum in 2024

The parent company says the name change will not affect quality of care for patients in Snohomish County.

Tirhas Tesfatsion (GoFundMe) 20210727
Lynnwood settles for $1.7 million after 2021 suicide at city jail

Jail staff reportedly committed 16 safety check violations before they found Tirhas Tesfatsion, 47, unresponsive in her cell.

A semi-truck rolled over blocking all traffic lanes Thursday morning on I-5 north just south of Arlington on Sept. 21, 2023. (Washington State Patrol)
Overturned trailer spills fish onto I-5 near Arlington, closing lanes

The crash blocked all lanes, forcing drivers going north during rush hour to use the left shoulder.

The Marysville Municipal Jail is pictured Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Marysville weighs mandatory jail time for repeated ‘public disorder’

The “three strikes” proposal sets a minimum sentence of 30 days in jail for crimes like public drug use and trespassing.

Everett police on patrol heard gunshots near 26th Street and Lombard Avenue and closed off multiple roads as they investigated on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Everett Police Department)
3 teens arrested after gunfire in downtown Everett

No one was injured. Police heard gunfire in the area of 26th Street and Lombard Avenue.

It’s time to celebrate and say thanks

Local journalism — and community support — will be the stars of Behind the News Stories on Oct. 24 in Edmonds.

Most Read