Policy Documents

Oysters and Willapa Bay

Michael De Alessi –
March 1, 1996
In this article by CEI's Center for Private Conservation, The Willapa Bay estuary in the southwest corner of Washington state arguably is the largest pristine estuary in the country.  Amazingly, it also has a history of resource exploitation that dates back to the earliest settlers in the region.  The Oyster population is declining, and regulatory agencies are standing in the way of private stewardship of the bay that would include the increase in the crop of oysters harvested from the 600,000 acres of watershed and tidewater.  Indeed, oyster growers own the land the oysters they are cultivated on.  This article explores the idea that local control could not only protect the environment, but meet the market's desire for healthy oysters.