Author: Doug Powell --- Source: barfblog 40 sickened: Don’t eat poop and raw is risky: Poop in Puget Sound sickened customers but really hurt oystermen’s livelihood

I wonder why Marler’s FSN hasn’t reported this one. Rob Hotakainen of the Miami Herald quotes John Hansen as saying there’s an easy explanation for why he can no longer sell his shellfish: There’s just too much poop in the waters of Puget Sound.

Oyster-Vancouver, B.C.- 07/05/07- Joe Fortes Oyster Specialist Oyster Bob Skinner samples a Fanny Bay oyster at the restuarant. Vancouver Coastal Health now requires restaurants to inform their patrons of the dangers of eating raw shellfish. (Richard Lam/Vancouver Sun) [PNG Merlin Archive]

When nearly 40 people were sickened in March after eating raw oysters, the Washington state Department of Health traced the outbreak to shellfish beds along a three-mile stretch of Hammersley Inlet. It includes Hansen’s farm, South Sound Mariculture, one of 31 companies that had to shut down. States officials blamed the illnesses on norovirus, a stomach illness linked to fecal coliform pollution. “I’m losing $10,000 a month,” said Hansen, 51, of Shelton, Washington. “I’d say the average farm is losing somewhere between $5,000 and $10,000 a month — and that’s not a stretch when they’re shut down.” Shellfish farming is big business in Washington state, which ranks first in the nation in production and where 3,200 jobs are tied to the Puget Sound. And from Washington state to Washington, D.C., shellfish farmers and their allies want the government to clean up the nation’s second largest estuary and keep their operations running. While Hansen wants local officials to do a better job of treating the water, the shellfish industry and its allies are taking their case to Congress, hoping to convince members to kill President Donald Trump’s plan to cut cleanup funding next year for the nation’s major bodies of water, including Puget Sound, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay.

Congress’ 2018 budget remains very much in doubt, but Puget Sound advocates won a reprieve last week when lawmakers struck a deal on a $1 trillion spending bill that will keep the government running through September. The bill, which passed the House on Wednesday and the Senate on Thursday, includes $28 million to continue cleaning up the Sound.