Ecology Department withdraws permit for shellfish spraying

An oyster is displayed in its shell just before being snacked-on minutes after being collected from a bed where it was growing Friday, May 1, 2015, in Willapa Bay near Tokeland, Wash. Washington oyster growers are preparing to spray up to 2,000 acres of commercial shellfish beds after winning state approval to use a neurotoxic pesticide to control a native burrowing shrimp that threatens the shellfish industry. But federal agencies and others say there’s not enough information to gauge the impact of imidacloprid. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – The Washington Department of Ecology says it is canceling a permit to spray pesticides over shellfish beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor.

The decision to halt the practice is part of an agreement between the local oyster growers association and the state. The growers association submitted a letter to the Department of Ecology on Sunday.

Environmental concerns were raised in an Associated Press story over the weekend and the department reported hearing from residents across Washington state that the practice did not meet their expectations.

The pesticides were supposed to control burrowing shrimp in the oyster beds. The shrimp burrow into the shellfish beds, making the ground too soft for oysters, causing them to suffocate.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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