S’Klallam Tribe proposes shellfish nursery to aid Hood Canal

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Workers harvest oysters in the Puget Sound, an estuary with increasingly acidic water that threatens Washington state's shellfish industry. (Liz O. Baylen/Los Angeles Times)

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) — The Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe is looking to boost the oyster population in Hood Canal by building a shellfish nursery.

The Kitsap Sun reports the tribe has submitted a development permit for a 1-acre structure that would float in the middle of Port Gamble Bay and produce up to 12 million oysters annually.

S’Klallam Natural Resources Director Paul McCollum says the oyster population in the Hood Canal has declined over the years, which scientists attribute to ocean acidification. He says the nursery would increase the survival rate.

According to a Kitsap County report, the nursery would be built alongside the tribe’s coho salmon hatchery and would have little environmental impact on the bay.

If the $1.5 million project is approved, the nursery could be up and running in early 2017.

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