Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
The shellfish industry here in the state has a very long and rich history. Margaret Barrette, Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association, says that the association itself has been in existence for over 80 years.
BARRETTE: It started as the Pacific Coast Oyster Growers Association and it’s primary function was to ensure that water quality was healthy enough to grow oysters. At the time when it started the primary industries in Washington state were timber and shellfish, and some of the issues with processing timber had affected the water quality in the bays of Washington, so this group got together to try to really fight that and preserve the ability to produce shellfish. Now the Association works on a variety of issues - water quality still, but also permitting and science research, innovation. Some of our main issues are making sure the product remains high quality, so we have public health concerns that we are always watching out for. We work with state regulators, the general public, federal regulators and the tribes in wanting to ensure that this industry can continue to be around for generations yet to come.
The state shellfish industry now includes mussels, clams and geoduck, which is a large giant native clam of the Pacific Northwest. PCSGA members hail from Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska and Hawaii; with the majority being small family run companies representing third, fourth, and even fifth generation shellfish farmers.
Tomorrow Barrette will talk about the Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers 68th Annual Conference coming up the week of September 22 in Vancouver.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.