Liberty Bay commercial shellfish beds open for first time in decades

For immediate release: September 14, 2017  (17-132)

Contact: Liz Coleman, Environmental Public Health Office  360-481-2016

Liberty Bay commercial shellfish beds open for first time in decades

OLYMPIA – Improved water quality has prompted state health officials to open 760 acres of commercial shellfish beds in Liberty Bay near Poulsbo in Kitsap County.

In an effort to address water quality issues that have plagued Liberty Bay for decades, Kitsap County officials teamed up with stakeholders to apply progressive pollution identification and correction strategies. The results are improved marine water quality that meets the strict standards for harvesting shellfish.

Clean Water Kitsap – a partnership of Kitsap County, the Kitsap Public Health District, the Kitsap County Conservation District and the Washington State University Extension – the Suquamish Tribe, the City of Poulsbo and hundreds of property owners began working towards the collective goal of improving water quality over a decade ago. Determining the source of pollution has led to individual on-site sewage system repairs, the implementation of manure management practices and improvements to Poulsbo’s wastewater collection system.

While the water quality has improved, federal rules require harvest area closure from May through September each year due to the large numbers of boats in the bay.

The Washington State Department of Health is responsible for the safety of commercial shellfish harvested in Washington. The Office of Environmental Health and Safety uses national standards to classify all commercial shellfish harvest areas.

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