Oyster growers agree to abandon quest to use controversial insecticide in Southwest Washington tidelands
A Southwest Washington oyster growers association has abandoned a quest to use a controversial insecticide that combats burrowing shrimp, a creature that can make tidelands unfit for shellfish farming.
In a settlement reached last week, the Willapa Grays Harbor Growers Association agreed to accept a 2018 state Ecology Department denial of the proposed use of imidacloprid and drop an appeal to the state Pollution Control Hearings Board.
The growers wanted to use the insecticide to spray up to 500 annually of the more than 12,000 acres of tidelands used for shellfish cultivation in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. Without the spray, the growers say they lose productive tidelands to the shrimp, which churn up sediment and can cause oysters, as well as clams, to suffocate in the muck.
The proposed imidacloprid spraying was opposed by National Marine Fisheries Service because of risks to other marine life, and it triggered a public backlash led by some high-profile Seattle chefs.