Development and Implementation of Integrated Pest Management of Burrowing Shrimp on Washington State Commercial Oyster Beds

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2003: $179,064.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2007
Matching Non-Federal Funds: $89,264.00
Region: Western
State: Washington
Principal Investigator:
Steven Booth
Willapa Bay Grays Harbor Oyster Growers / PSI

Annual Reports


  • Animals: shellfish


  • Crop Production: application rate management
  • Education and Training: demonstration, extension, farmer to farmer, focus group, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, budgets/cost and returns, agricultural finance
  • Pest Management: biological control, chemical control, competition, cultural control, field monitoring/scouting, integrated pest management, physical control, cultivation
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management


    This project comprised primary activities to develop an integrated program for burrowing shrimp on oyster beds in Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor, Washington. Although we could not describe an economic action threshold in the sense of a traditional IPM program, we suggest that a decision tree be used as an empirical economic action threshold based on characteristics of the bed, shrimp recruitment, and an adjustable minimum threshold burrow count. At least two dozen compounds were evaluated, but only the neonicotinoids and the pyrethroids consistently suppressed shrimp to levels below the accepted damage level. Compound efficacy was generally similar whether compounds were applied topically or injected subsurface at both low and high tide. The resulting IPM Plan has been described at grower workshops, in newsletters, and in the Environmental Codes of Practice for Pacific Coast Pacific Shellfish Industry

    Project objectives:

    This project supplemented and complemented other related activities, some of which were in place at the project’s inception.  A research team with expertise in agricultural engineering, mechanical engineering, mud flat ecology, shellfish culture, and IPM development was assembled to meet the following objectives:

    • Derive an economically based action threshold for burrowing shrimp control based on
      •   ○  the relationship between burrowing shrimp density and oyster yield (e.g., the damage/density relationship) and
      • an appraisal of the financial cost / benefits of burrowing shrimp control based on grower interviews and surveys.
    •  Evaluate the efficacy of alternatives to carbaryl-based tactics to suppress burrowing shrimp, such as sub-surface applications of registration-exempt compounds, or the mechanical crushing or shallow rototilling of shrimp burrows, within a tier of experimental designs that progress from small tightly controlled arenas, through larger microcosm studies, to field plot trials.
    • Write an IPM plan for burrowing shrimp; implement and deliver it to oyster producers using workshops, newsletters and demonstration trials; to the scientific community using conferences and articles and to the public using a pre-existing website, and adopt the plan into an Environmental Code of Practice for the West Coast shellfish industry.
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.