The Washington State Department of Health has designated a shellfish harvesting area at Portage Bay in Whatcom County as “threatened,” which indicates the bay’s water quality is approaching unsafe limits to the point where it could be closed.
The health department closed harvesting in part of Vaughn Bay in Pierce County due to high levels of fecal bacteria. Health officials also identified 14 more of Washington’s 101 commercial shellfish growing areas that could be closed in the future if fecal pollution continues to get worse.
Shellfish harvesting areas threatened with closure include: Snohomish County – Port Susan; Grays Harbor County – Grays Harbor; Jefferson County – Hood Canal near Dosewallips State Park; King County – Poverty Bay; Kitsap County – Port Orchard Passage; Mason County – Hood Canal near Alderbrook and Pickering Passage (McLane Cove); Pacific County – Bay Center and near the mouths of the Naselle and Nemah rivers; Pierce County – Penrose Point and Rocky Bay; Thurston County – Henderson Inlet.
Being designated as “threatened” can serve as an early warning to help focus efforts to avoid closures.