Department of Ecology News Release - May 3, 2015

Ecology, shellfish growers cancel pesticide spraying permit
Application withdrawn for controlling burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor

OLYMPIA – Following discussions over the weekend, the Department of Ecology and the Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association (WGHOGA) have agreed to cancel a recently issued permit for use of imidacloprid to control burrowing shrimp.

"One of our agency’s goals is to reduce toxics in our environment," said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. "We’ve heard loud and clear from people across Washington that this permit didn’t meet their expectations, and we respect the growers’ response."

The permit came at the request of WGHOGA for an alternative to carbaryl, a pesticide used since the 1960s. The permit placed strict usage rules on a new U.S. EPA approved registration of imidacloprid, a commonly used pesticide, to control the population of burrowing shrimp in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor. The shrimp burrow into shellfish beds, making the ground too soft for oysters, causing them to suffocate.

"We believe we have no choice but to withdraw our permit and address these issues to the satisfaction of our customer base, and the public," said Don Gillies, president of the WGHOGA, in the letter requesting withdrawal of the permit.

The WGHOGA submitted the letter withdrawing their application for the permit on Sunday, May 3. Ecology staff will now complete the paperwork to cancel the permit on Monday, May 4.


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Chase Gallagher, communications, 360-791-9830; @ECYSW