Presentation Abstract

Hammersley Inlet in Washington State is a highly productive growing area for oysters, with at least 34 different commercial shellfish growers operating in its tidelands. The oysters in Hammersley Inlet provide an important source of income, employment and recreation for surrounding Mason County. In early spring 2017, Hammersley Inlet was implicated in a shellfish-transmitted norovirus outbreak that resulted in growing area closures and recalls, significantly impacting small, local shellfish farmers. From its initial illness investigation, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) was unable to identify a point pollution source responsible for the outbreak, and some shellfish producing parcels remained closed to harvesting for many months. Seeking to understand the impact of the outbreak event on local shellfish farmers, as well as Mason County as a whole, surveys and interviews were used to inform an economic impact assessment and livelihood characterization of the local shellfish industry. In addition to questions about the economic losses associated with the 2017 norovirus event, shellfish farmers were asked about their perception of the risk of such events, and how norovirus outbreaks can affect the reputation of a shellfish producing area. This paper endeavors to describe the events surrounding the spring 2017 Hammersley Inlet outbreak, and to present results of the economic and social impact assessment of the outbreak on Mason County. As development increases around the Salish Sea, this research may have implications for how communities grow, how they deal with pollution impacts on the shellfish industry, and how we make coastal livelihoods resilient in the face of long-term public health concerns.

Session Title

Snapshot Presentations

Keywords

Shellfish, Water quality, Norovirus

Conference Track

SSE17: Snapshots

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE17-504

Start Date

5-4-2018 10:10 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 10:15 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

Share

COinS
 
Apr 5th, 10:10 AM Apr 5th, 10:15 AM

Social and economic impacts of a 2017 oyster-transmitted norovirus outbreak in Hammersley Inlet, Puget Sound

Hammersley Inlet in Washington State is a highly productive growing area for oysters, with at least 34 different commercial shellfish growers operating in its tidelands. The oysters in Hammersley Inlet provide an important source of income, employment and recreation for surrounding Mason County. In early spring 2017, Hammersley Inlet was implicated in a shellfish-transmitted norovirus outbreak that resulted in growing area closures and recalls, significantly impacting small, local shellfish farmers. From its initial illness investigation, Washington State Department of Health (DOH) was unable to identify a point pollution source responsible for the outbreak, and some shellfish producing parcels remained closed to harvesting for many months. Seeking to understand the impact of the outbreak event on local shellfish farmers, as well as Mason County as a whole, surveys and interviews were used to inform an economic impact assessment and livelihood characterization of the local shellfish industry. In addition to questions about the economic losses associated with the 2017 norovirus event, shellfish farmers were asked about their perception of the risk of such events, and how norovirus outbreaks can affect the reputation of a shellfish producing area. This paper endeavors to describe the events surrounding the spring 2017 Hammersley Inlet outbreak, and to present results of the economic and social impact assessment of the outbreak on Mason County. As development increases around the Salish Sea, this research may have implications for how communities grow, how they deal with pollution impacts on the shellfish industry, and how we make coastal livelihoods resilient in the face of long-term public health concerns.