Open Letter to Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins From Shikat Bay Oysters Regarding the PSP Outbreak - P.O.W. Report

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Open Letter to Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins From Shikat Bay Oysters Regarding the PSP Outbreak

Open Letter: Rep. Jonathan S. Kreiss-Tomkins

By Gregg Parsley

Several of us in the Southeast Alaska mariculture industry would like you to look into what it would take to begin the process for Federal Disaster Relief funds for our oyster industry here in Southeast Alaska due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). We, Shikat Bay Oysters, have been shutdown for going on 4 weeks with no relief in sight, we have lost to date over $25,000 and once the psp measurement numbers fall below the 80 micrograms/100 grams requirement we will still have to wait another two weeks before we are able to put oysters back into commerce.

I can see us, Shikat Bay Oysters, loosing in excess of $40,000 due to this unusually early and unseasonably PSP outbreak.

All of Southeast Alaska has been hit especially hard with this PSP outbreak. In order to place oysters into the commerce industry, each grower, has to send a sample to the State of Alaska pathology lab in Anchorage, only numbers of less than 80 micrograms/100 grams can be placed into commerce. The industry in Southeast Alaska has, for the past month, been seeing numbers ranging from well over the 80 micrograms to as high as 3000 micrograms. This outbreak has been seen from Ketchikan all the way to Skagway and is likely to have an impact that exceeds the 2016 Pink Salmon disaster in Alaska.

Several growers in Southeast Alaska have spent phenomenal amounts of out of pocket cash in the past few years for expansion and loosing part or possibly most of our lucrative summer season will have and is having a serious financial impact on growers.

Gregg Parsley
Shikat Bay Oysters
Southeast Alaska

Update from Shikat Bay Oysters:

We sent the letter to Jonathan as well as to Gov Walker. We've also reached out to FSA to figure out how the farmers who were impacted could go about seeking relief following this event---given that we're technically treated as an agriculture industry rather than a fishery. We just reopened this week.. we were closed to harvest for 6 weeks in the middle of the summer!

Read More: Deadly toxin shuts down some Southeast Alaska oyster farms

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