WAC 246-282 Sanitary Control of Shellfish Rule Revision

What's Happening?

State Board of Health (Board) Rulemaking – Permanent Amendments to Chapter 246-282 WAC, Sanitary Control of Shellfish

On February 23, 2022, the Board initiated rulemaking to update chapter 246-282 WAC, Sanitary Control of Shellfish. This rulemaking will consider permanent updates to the rules including to WAC 246-282-006, Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) Control Plan.


Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) is a naturally occurring bacteria found in marine waters. Molluscan bivalve shellfish acquire Vp through filter feeding. Humans who consume raw or undercooked shellfish containing Vp can develop an intestinal disease called Vibriosis,

In 2021, there were a high number of vibriosis cases involving Washington shellfish largely due to exceedingly high temperatures during the summer months. 

The department expects this trend to continue. This indicates a need to review the rule requirements to determine if the current controls are adequate to protect consumers and consider more if more proactive measures to prevent illness and protect public health are appropriate.

Revisions could include a combination of requirements based on environmental factors to determine the safety of shellfish prior to harvest and consumption. The rule revision may also include updating definitions, seed size and other technical and editorial changes as needed.

As standard Board rulemaking, the work will likely take two or more years to complete and is on-going.

An update was given to the Board on August 9, 2023. More information and the meeting materials can be found on the State Board of Health Meeting Information and Sanitary Control of Shellfish rulemaking webpages.

Get Involved

Informal Public Comment Period Deadline May 24, 2024

The Board and Department of Health convened six Rule Advisory Committee (RAC) meetings and six Tribal Partner meetings. These meetings gathered valuable feedback on the rules and potential changes. The Board is now gathering additional feedback to answer any questions before a final proposal. 

The Board and Department are committed to promoting equity in all aspects of the rulemaking process, ensuring fair and inclusive policies that address the diverse needs and perspectives of our communities. This feedback will help us make further edits and clarify any questions before a final proposal. We are requesting feedback on the draft proposed language by May 24, 2024. 

The May 24 deadline is important, as it provides Board and Department staff enough time to review and incorporate feedback before updating the Board on the rule progress in June. See below for a tentative project timeline. Dates are subject to change based on feedback. Once the final proposal is submitted, we will hold a formal comment period that includes both written and verbal comments in front of the Board. We will keep you updated as we move to the next steps. 

Informal Public Comment Links

Clean Chapter 246-282 WAC Draft Proposed Changes (Word)

Redline Chapter 246-282 WAC Draft Proposed Changes (Word)

Summary of Changes (Word)

Provide feedback on the draft rule through the following ways: 

Written comments and feedback on the Summary of Changes (Word) are accepted through May 24, 2024, using the following options: 

  • Send to the State Board of Health Shellfish Rule email address: shellfish@sboh.wa.gov 
  • Send via the U.S. Mail to: Washington State Board of Health, PO Box 47990, ​Olympia, WA 98504-7990 

Redline Edits are accepted through May 24, 2024. To provide redline edits, open the Clean Chapter 246-282 WAC Draft Proposed Changes (Word) and follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the “Review” tab. 
  2. Select “Track Changes” from the drop-down arrow in the “Tracking” section. 
  3. Make your edits and watch them appear as red markup. 
  4. When finished, save the document as [Last Name, First Name] WAC246-282_Draft 
  5. Send the draft to shellfish@sboh.wa.gov by the May 24 deadline. 

Additional Comment Methods: The Washington State Board of Health is committed to providing access to all individuals that want to participate in our work. Alternative commenting options include verbal comment, support for interpretation and translation, and other accessible options. If you would like to take advantage of these methods of providing comment, please contact us at 360-236-4110 or email wsboh@sboh.wa.gov

Métodos adicionales para comentar: el Consejo de Salud del Estado de Washington se compromete a facilitar el acceso a todas las personas que deseen participar en el proceso normativo. Existen opciones alternativas para hacer comentarios, incluidas las opciones de comentarios verbales, servicios de interpretación y traducción, y otras opciones de accesibilidad. Si desea aprovechar estos métodos para hacer comentarios, comuníquese con nosotros al 360-236-4110 o envíe un correo electrónico a wsboh@sboh.wa.gov.

RAC Meeting Presentations

A Rule Advisory Committee (RAC) met several times to discuss possible changes to the Sanitary Control of Shellfish, covering a wide variety of topics. 

Frequently Asked Questions: Seed Size, Aquaculture, and Wild Seed (PDF)

To stay informed about this rulemaking and other Vp related information, sign up for Vibrio email notices.

Rulemaking Files


What's This?

Date Filed

CR-101 (PDF)

Announces intent of rulemaking.

February 23, 2023

Clean Chapter 246-282 WAC Draft Proposed Changes (Word) Draft changes for informal public comment period. Comments due by May 24, 2024. April 12, 2024
Redline Chapter 246-282 WAC Draft Proposed Changes (Word) Draft changes for informal public comment period. Comments due by May 24, 2024. April 12, 2024
Summary of Changes (Word) Draft changes for informal public comment period. Comments due by May 24, 2024. April 12, 2024


Shay Bauman, SBOH Policy Advisor

Danielle Toepelt, Shellfish Licensing & Certification Section Manager