State lifts prohibition on some areas of commercial shellfish beds

Improved boat sewage management has resulted in upgrades to commercial shellfish harvesting areas, including marinas in Clallam and Jefferson counties, the state Department of Health said.

Portions of commercial shellfish areas around 20 Puget Sound marinas would no longer be classified as prohibited, following improvements to sewage management, the state said Thursday.

The improvement will affect 700 acres of previously restricted commercial shellfish beds.

According to Liz Coleman with the state department’s public health office, the upgrades should be reflected on the Department of Health’s interactive shellfish map online at www.doh.wa.gov.

Restrictions, Coleman said, may remain in place for other reasons in certain areas.

Reclassified areas include 67 acres around John Wayne Marina near Sequim in Clallam County and 144 acres in Jefferson County — Cape George, Fisherman Harbor, Pleasant Harbor, Port Hudson, Port Townsend and Quilcene.

Other areas are 5 acres around Sandy Hook marina in Island County, 228 acres around Kitsap County marinas — Blake Island, Brownsville, Kingston, Keyport, Liberty Bay and Poulsbo — 43 acres around Hood Canal and Jarrell Cove in Mason County, 43 acres on Day Island in Pierce County, 104 acres around Boston Harbor and Zittels in Thurston County and 27 acres around Birch Bay in Whatcom County.

The state Department of Ecology designated Puget Sound a “no discharge zone,” effective in May. That meant that most boats are not allowed to pump sewage — whether treated or not — into waters across some 2,300 square miles.

The no discharge zone was the first such designation in the Pacific Northwest.

The state Department of Health also said that throughout the past two decades, waste-holding capacity has been increased in most boats and there are more boat waste pump out stations.

For more information about shellfish and water quality, see www.doh.wa.gov.

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