Pesticide use for oyster beds is once again threatening Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay. Shellfish growers are making another push to allow for the spray of pesticides on clam and oyster beds in the region, which environmentalists and state officials say is a major risk to invertebrates, like the Dungeness crab.

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Oyster growers claim they need the pesticides to kill burrowing shrimp that harm oyster beds and prevent them from harvesting their product. The companies are looking to reverse a current ban on the use of pesticides such as the neurotoxic imidacloprid. They area also supporting three bills in the state legislature.

If passed, these initiatives would make it legal for the companies to spray pesticides in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

The Ecology Department has already put measures in place that prevent the use of pesticides on oyster and clam beds.

Related: France is the first country to ban all 5 pesticides linked to bee deaths

Officials with the state and federal government claim that there is strong evidence that suggests these pesticides are harmful to the environment. While the chemicals are effective against burrowing shrimp, they also kill other forms of ocean life that include the Dungeness crab.

Fortunately, there are a variety of groups that are fighting the oyster growers and the newly proposed laws. This includes the Western Environmental Law Center, the Center for Food Safety, the Center of Biological Diversity and the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat, all of which are filing appeals to keep the pesticide ban in place. The appeals will be heard at the Pollution Control Hearings Board over the next few weeks.

It is unclear if the oyster growers will be successful in their attempts to lobby for legislation that makes it legal to spray pesticides in oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

Via Capital Press

Image via SeahorseDigital