Washington shellfish producers have been busy with clam seeding operations, completing remote settings of oyster seeds, and moving shell stocks out into nursery areas. Tom Bloomfield, production manager for Chelsea Farms, a family shellfish farm located near Olympia, talks about the different species of shellfish the farm grows and harvests.
BLOOMFIELD: We farm three different species of shellfish - manila clams, pacific oysters, and geoduck clams. We farm about fifty acres of tideland total. The geoduck are planted, reared and harvested here. Then they’re shipped to our sister company in Tacoma where they’re repackaged, put on an airplane, and at their final destination by the next day.
Just what is the primary market for Chelsea Farms geoduck?
BLOOMFIELD: A lot of them go to China and the domestic markets both in Los Angeles and in New York.
Bloomfield says that clam sales are steady but that the oyster business has really increased over the last few years.
BLOOMFIELD: People want a variety of oysters and most of our oysters actually go down to California, but we also sell in Oregon, New York, Nevada, Chicago.
The shellfish industry is a resource based business that provides economic stability for many of the rural western Washington communities that rely on natural resource based jobs. In December 2011 Washington State launched a new Shellfish Initiative to improve habitat and water quality, expand shellfish aquaculture, and increase availability of locally produced seafood and jobs in coastal communities.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.