Pollution poses problems for oysters, Puget Sound

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Associated Press (AP) -- For over 75 years, the Blau family has relied on clean fresh water and cold currents to raise plump, briny oysters. But too much pollution has been getting into Samish Bay, closing shellfish harvesting for a total of 38 days this year.

Clean water has always been a concern for Washington's $100 million shellfish industry. But the recent downgrade of 4,000 acres of shellfish beds in Samish Bay due to fecal contamination represents a step backward for recovery efforts on Puget Sound, the nation's second largest estuary.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has called efforts to clean up the bay a failure and directed state agencies to reverse the situation. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also stepped up enforcement and this summer plans over flights to identify likely pollution sources.