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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 23, 2009 at 10:00 AM

Oyster and clam samples sought for study

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The Washington Sea Grant [WSG] needs your oysters and clams.

This spring and summer the group is inviting volunteers to monitor bacterial contamination on privately owned beaches in Hood Canal and Puget Sound for their “State of the Oyster Study.”

At low tide on four days, waterfront property owners can collect oysters or clams from their beaches.

The WSG will arrange for laboratory testing of the samples, which will be analyzed for the presence of harmful bacterial and bacterial indicators of fecal contamination. WSG will then help participants interpret their test results and, if needed, work closely with them to identify and remedy the sources of contamination.

To participate, waterfront property owners need to fill out and mail in the form that’s available on the WSG Web site.

Low tides: May 25, minus-4.0 at 12:15 p.m.; June 21, -3.4 at 10:24 a.m.; July 19, -2.5 at 9:15 a.m.; and Aug. 16, -1.3 at 7:55 a.m.

On those dates, participants should collect six large oysters, with shell lengths of at least five inches, or 24 clams. The shellfish should remain in the shell and be placed in heavy, leakproof bags marked with name, collection site address, mailing address and phone number or e-mail.

Samples should be kept on ice until delivered to a drop-off site.

The following drop-off sites will be open noon-2:30 p.m. only on the dates listed above: Hunter Farms, 1921 E. State Route 106 in Union; Booth in driveway at 6751 E. State Route 106 in Union; Happy Hollow Store, 15280 E. State Route 106 in Belfair; and QFC parking lot, 1403 Old Belfair Highway in Belfair.

Since 1987, the State of the Oyster Study has helped waterfront residents on more than 300 Washington beaches learn what makes for safer oysters and clams and how to minimize fecal contamination in their waters.

Based at the University of Washington, Washington Sea Grant supports marine research and education and works with stakeholders to manage and protect marine resources.

(Photo by Thomas James Hurst, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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