Gulf States Molluscan Workshop, Project #MX964008
Project Title: Gulf States Molluscan Workshop
Grant #: MX964008
Project Officer: Fred Kopfler
As the result of a $4,500 grant from the Gulf of Mexico Program, 50 Gulf States federal and state government shellfish managers and their counterparts from industry and academia had an opportunity to come together at a workshop to discuss common problems and solutions associated with eating raw oysters and other shellfish harvested from Gulf coastal waters. The grant was awarded to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services who conducted the workshop April 19-21, 2004, at Jehyll Island, Georgia, in conjunction with the Gulf and South Atlantic States Shellfish Conference.
Workshop facilitators presented the latest information on post harvest treatment technology being developed to reduce the risk to the public from eating raw oysters containing Vibrio vulnificus, a bacteria that occurs naturally in shellfish growing waters of the Gulf. Conference attendees discussed some of the new regulations for controlling bacteria and viruses associated with the discharge of human waste from improperly functioning sewage collection and treatment systems, failing septic tanks, and marine vessels into shellfish growing waters.
Shellfish sanitation managers attending the workshop were updated on the authority and requirements for establishing “no discharge” zones for critical habitats such as shellfish growing areas under Sec. 312 of the Clean Water Act. The workshop facilitators provided these key environmental leaders with more information on how to establish these zones where no sewage discharge from boats is allowed. Attendees also learned about the latest advances for monitoring and managing red tides and other harmful algal blooms which have a detrimental effect on the public’s health.
The workshop supported the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s and the Gulf of Mexico Program’s goals to have healthy communities and ecosystems and to prevent water pollution and protect aquatic species in order to improve the health of the Gulf of Mexico.