OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee has proclaimed June 4–11 Washington Shellfish Week to reflect the importance of shellfish in the state. Washington’s $184 million shellfish industry supports approximately 2700 jobs throughout rural coastal and Puget Sound communities and is one of the state’s oldest industries.
“Shellfish are crucial to Washington’s economy, culture and environment,” Inslee said. “Generations of Washingtonians have dug razor clams on the coast, and consumers around the world prize our state’s oysters. Improving water quality supports family shellfish farms — and shellfish in turn help filter and clean the water.”
Shellfish Week celebrates shellfish resources on the coast and in Puget Sound. Events and activities are being hosted around the region.
“Washington shellfish growers are proud of our sustainable industry; many of our farms are operated by multi-generational family companies,” said Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association President Kyle Lentz. “We look forward to celebrating shellfish farming at our events this week and throughout the year by sharing our nutritious products.”
Washington Shellfish Week is one of several education efforts established during the launch of the second phase of Inslee’s Washington Shellfish Initiative in January. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Health launched a website providing access to all recreational shellfish harvest information in a centralized location.
“Staff from our two agencies collaborated to link our websites using a ’clickable map tool,’ allowing harvesters to view harvest seasons, alongside any health restrictions, on both websites,” said WDFW Director Jim Unsworth.“This is information that shellfish harvesters need to have, and we want to make it as easy for them to get it as possible.”
“Recovering Puget Sound’s closed shellfish beds and protecting those that are safe to harvest from is one of our major Clean Water Act initiatives,” said Environmental Protection Agency Region 10 Administrator Dennis McLerran.“The collaboration we do through the National Estuary Program with governments, communities and industries at all levels is among our highest priorities. The payoff for all of us is a healthier Sound, thriving local businesses and delicious and lucrative shellfish.”
“Much of Washington’s history was built on the strength of healthy oysters, clams and geoducks. These iconic aquatic species must be cornerstones in building a healthy and sustainable future for Puget Sound,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark.