State (At Last) Disallows Neurotoxin Use In Willapa Bay

Many Coalition members and supporters are echoing the shock and dismay described in Danny Westneat’s April 28, 2015 Seattle Times article, Disbelief over state plan to spray neurotoxin into oyster beds.

What can we do? The Coalition is consulting with experts about options, including filing an appeal with the Pollution Control Hearings Board. We will post updates as plans coalesce.


April 9, 2018 No Imidacloprid Permit-You Saved Willapa Bay!!
Our Coalition is excited that finally Washington regulators are not allowing more Washington native species to be destroyed in order to expand shellfish exports.
Many thanks to all of you who helped us!!

Washington Department of Ecology – NEWS
April 9, 2018

Contact: Jessica Payne, communications, 360-407-6408, @ecologyWA

Shellfish growers’ request to use neonicotinoid pesticide too risky for Washington’s environment
Imidacloprid would cause harm to Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor

SOUTH BEND – Shellfish growers from Willapa-Grays Harbor Oyster Growers Association requested a permit from the state to use the pesticide imidacloprid on oyster and clam beds to control native burrowing shrimp.

After thoroughly evaluating the request, the Washington Department of Ecology has determined that the environmental harm from this neonicotinoid pesticide would be too great. Therefore, Ecology is denying the request for a permit.

“We’ve been working with this community of growers for years to move away from chemical pesticides and find a safer alternative to control burrowing shrimp,” said Ecology Director Maia Bellon. “The science around imidacloprid is rapidly evolving and we can’t ignore it. New findings make it clear that this pesticide is simply too risky and harmful to be used in Washington’s waters and estuaries.”


October 1, 2016—A Coalition member submitted a report on the current status of pesticide use in the Willapa Bay area: Life in the Dead Zone – The 2015 Eelgrass Die Off

May 7, 2015—It is important to note that pesticides (in particular Imazamox, aka Raptor) are still in use in Willapa Bay and elsewhere in Puget Sound region shellfish aquaculture. Imazamox is classified by the National Institutes of Health as “very toxic to aquatic life with long lasting effects.” The Coalition’s position is clear—no pesticides in our shellfish!

imazamox hazard warning

May 4, 2015—First Taylor Shellfish, and then the Department of Ecology, have backed away from this plan. The permit to use these dangerous chemicals is canceled as of May 4, 2015. This is indeed a victory, and demonstrates the power that we have as citizens, when our voices come together. But this is also the tip of the iceberg with regard to environmental damage caused by industrial aquaculture practices. The Coalition is at work today to effect deeper change in the Puget Sound region.

Seattle Times: State, growers scrap pesticide permit for oyster beds after outcry

Seattle Times: Oyster pesticide battle shows who really wields power

Protest The Spraying Of Neurotoxin On Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay
Monday, May 4, 2015, noon to 2:00 p.m.

Video from this protest:

We need your help to stand against this deeply foolish decision. Please give what you can.

You can also add your voice to many others by signing our petition: Governor Inslee: Stop Enabling Plastic and Pesticide Pollution in Puget Sound

westneat article

Cliff Mass has an excellent article on his blog: Oysters and Pesticides: The Washington State Department of Ecology Stumbles.

More from Seattle Times: Chefs ‘horrified’ by plan to spray pesticide on oyster beds.

Whole Foods will NOT be purchasing any oysters treated with pesticides:

Bloomberg Business broke this story: Washington State Turns to Neurotoxins to Save Its Oysters

Also see: Pesticide Use On Shorelines Carries Heavy Risks

and Pesticides Used in Commercial Aquaculture