Bloomberg Businessweek Shoot: Willapa Bay’s Future w/Neonicotinoids

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Last week I was called by Bloomberg and headed to Willapa Bay in southwestern Washington to photograph WSU scientist Kim Patten and the surrounding environment of Bay Center, WA. Waking up at 2:30am on Monday, I spent the morning driving 3hrs to catch a clear sunrise over the waters, which have been the center of Washington’s oyster industry for generations. At over 260 square miles, the bay nearly empties at low tide, creating the second largest estuary on the U.S.’s west coast. But a local shrimp has been disrupting the area’s economy for too long, suffocating oyster beds as the crustacean burrows 1 to 2 feet beneath the surface, turning mudflats into quicksand. The published article is available in the link and the selects from the morning’s shoot are below.

Bloomberg Businessweek: Washington State Turns to Neurotoxins to Save Its Oysters

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A pile of discarded oyster shells are left in the sun so organic matter can decompose before being bagged and placed back in the water as a refuge for young oyster seed.

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Long-line oyster beds stretch across the tidal flats of Willapa Bay as a front of morning fog recedes westward.

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Old oyster shells wrapped in bags ready for delivery outside an oyster nursery

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WSU scientist and researcher Kim Patten uses a clam digger to pull out an invasive shrimp from one to two feet beneath the mud.

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A male and female shrimp (the female is carrying orange egg sacks)

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An oyster shucker in Bay Center, WA

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Comments

  1. pleasantbeach2@gmail.com says:

    Very nice Cameron! Joanne, JoAnne and I stopped at Bay center on way home from Seaview. First time any of us had been there pretty cool funky place had a great clam chowder at the dock of the bay restaurant. So sad chemicals are being used in MY beautiful willapa bay it was always was known to be a very pristine estuary because there was no industry but it sure is sad that there’s chemicals out there who really needs oysters anyway? not me ! The shrimp were there first! it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature! Nevertheless, you shot some wonderfully beautiful pictures in an amazing place! Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Fantastic photographs, I love them, I feel like I´m on a journey here
    wonderful post!
    Just dropping by to wish you an awesome day and leave some daily love dosage
    Dana, http://booquepress.com

  3. nice pictures and story behind them!

  4. “But an invasive shrimp has been disrupting the area’s economy, …”

    Where did you source the info for your opening paragraph?
    The mudshrimp is native. The oysters are not.

    • the shrimp is invasive to the oyster industry, burrowing into the flats and destabilizing the oyster beds. You are correct, the shrimp are native and the oysters within Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor are non-native species. Fortunately, for the sake of the unknowns regarding the neurotoxin, Taylor Shellfish has decided against the use of the toxin beginning May 17th against the mounting public pressure this and other Seattle Times articles have reported.

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