Harvesting oysters at Mike's Beach resort, can be a rewarding experience, but it's important to follow local regulations, ensure your safety, and respect the environment. Here's a guide to help you get started:
1. Check the Tide Charts for the dates you plan to harvest:
Checking low tide times is a crucial step when planning to harvest clams and oysters. These shellfish are often found in intertidal zones, which are only accessible during low tide. By consulting tide charts or online resources, harvesters can ensure that the tide will be low enough on their chosen dates, allowing them to access the harvesting areas safely and efficiently.
You can download yearly tide predictions to help plan your trip, it has a calendar that shows the tide height in ft and the times for all of 2023/2024. Please remember that you will need a tide lower than 2.0 ft for shellfish harvesting, but the lower the better!
2. Obtain the Necessary Permits:
All resort guests require a valid WA. State Shellfish License to harvest shellfish at the resort.
Ensure you have the required permits for oyster harvesting. Permits can usually be obtained from the WDFW or other relevant authorities.
3. Gather the Right Equipment:
Basic equipment for oyster harvesting includes:
Oyster knife or shucking tool
Rubber gloves for hand protection
Proper clothing, including waterproof boots
Buckets and coolers are not allowed for harvesting, large ziplock bags are available (at no charge) from the office for guests to harvest shellfish.
4. Choose a Suitable Harvesting Area:
The Resort beach front from the pier to the end of the cabins is available for shellfish harvesting at low tide, the section of beach past the cabins that is roped off with "no trespassing" signs is not open to resort guests.
5. Check for Red Tide Alerts:
Before harvesting, check for red tide alerts. Red tide, or harmful algal blooms, can produce toxins that make shellfish unsafe to eat. The Washington State Department of Health typically provides information on red tide conditions.
Washington State Department of Health
Customer Service: (360) 902-2464 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
Call Toll-Free: (866) 246-9453 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
6. Harvesting Techniques:
Once you've identified a suitable area and ensured it's safe and legal to harvest, use your oyster knife or shucking tool to carefully pry the oysters from their attachment points. Be cautious to avoid injuring yourself or damaging the oyster.
7. Size Limits and Sorting:
Respect size limits set by regulations. If there are size restrictions, only harvest oysters that meet the specified size requirements. Sort your harvest accordingly.
8. Leave No Trace:
Dispose of shells and debris properly.
Pick up all debris and please help us preserve the natural resources and ecosystem by making the harvesting sustainable! This means returning all the oyster shells to the beach (they are covered in oyster seed). Leaving a clean area also helps maintain the health of the ecosystem and prevents pollution.
9. Safety First:
Be aware of your surroundings and the tide schedule to avoid being stranded. Watch for slippery surfaces, sharp objects, and other hazards. If you are not experienced in harvesting, consider going with someone who is.
10. Rinse and Store:
Rinse harvested oysters thoroughly with clean water to remove any mud or debris. Store them in a breathable container, such as a mesh bag, and keep them cool until you are ready to clean, cook, or consume them.
Remember, responsible harvesting practices ensure the sustainability of the resource for future generations. Always check for updated information and guidelines from local authorities before heading out to harvest oysters at Mike's.