NAHCOTTA — Shortly after Washington became the 42nd state in 1889, reserves were set aside so that enough native oyster seed would be available to keep the species alive. Nowadays, delicious native Olympia oysters do still live on in small numbers, while their reserves nurture vast numbers of non-native clams that produce big money for local harvesters.

Excess state-owned oysters from the reserves have long been auctioned off to local shell fishermen. More recently, the hard-shelled clams often called “steamers” have added to the state’s revenue stream, helping keep the Peninsula’s scientific field station alive.

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