From native salmon to Dungeness crab, and shellfish - ranging from delicate calms, buttery or brine mussels and oysters, to the enormous Geoduck - our waters serve up a bountiful meal of delicious seafood to a hungry globe.
However, it isn't without cost and concern. OA (Ocean Acidification) is just now being understood by scientists, and all early indications are that it's a deadly component to Red Tide and other climate-related climates of our coasts.
NOAA's Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has been recently designated as a sentinel site for the study of OA and its impacts on Olympic Coast seafood.
Why is it a concern? Climate change emerged in recent decades as a theory and is now a broadly acknowledged phenomenon with impacts demonstrated around the world. In recent years, shellfish growers in Washington state have needed to develop monitoring and treatment practices to avoid spawning failures that have been linked to the periodic upwelling of more acidic ocean waters. In the not-so-distant future, climate change is projected to profoundly impact coastal and marine ecosystems on a global scale, with anticipated effects on water quality, sea level, temperature, storm intensity, and current patterns.
COVID contributes to seafood shortages - A recent Bloomberg News article titled "No Crabs, No Scallops: Seafood Is Vanishing From Menus in U.S." served up the post COVID problem succinctly;
"Just like in dozens of other overwhelmed industries in the booming economy, there are any number of factors causing the shortages and price spikes: The ports are congested; there aren’t enough fishermen; there aren’t enough truck drivers; demand for seafood at restaurants is soaring."
However, thanks to collaborative partnerships and simple - hard - work, area restaurants and regional festivals such as the Dungeness Seafood and Crab Festival are well-positioned to avoid national challenges regarding seafood’s disappearance from restaurant menus due to soaring wholesale costs attributed to COVID-related port congestion, a lack of fishermen and other shortages, CrabFest is connected directly to local fishermen and suppliers with their own dedicated crab boats. Assuring visitors to this Annual Fest (October, 8-10, 2021 along the Port Angeles waterfront) that there will be fresh whole Dungeness Crab from Hightide Seafood, Hama Hama Oysters, sourced using their own 5-generations of tide flats served raw and BBQ. And additional oysters from Taylor Shellfish Farms, growing Northwest oysters since the 1890’s, and MORE!
For over a decade the Olympic Culinary Loop (www.OlympicCulinaryLoop.com) has celebrated the Olympic Peninsula's sustainable and locally grown and harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries, locally hunted game, bountiful local sea fare, and handcrafted local wines offer farm-to-table experiences with a unique sense of place.
Prepared with reverence for the local history and culture, fresh Olympic Coast Cuisine is best enjoyed amid the beautiful scenery that surrounds the Olympic Culinary Loop.
While these are trying times, the 'LOOP' remains a delicious destination for authentic seafood. We invite you to explore and taste what the Olympic Coast offers as you Eat Local First - Olympic Peninsula!