Pearl: A New Model for Evaluating Bay Sanitation Conditions and Managing Shellfish Growing Water Closures

Fred Conte, Abbas Ahmadi


The objective of this paper is to introduce a new model, Pearl, designed to evaluate bay sanitation conditions and manage shellfish growing area closures. The Pearl model can be used in one of two modes. In the stand-alone mode, Pearl can perform a multi-year analysis using observed fecal coliform data collected from within shellfish growing areas to determine if shellfish harvested from those areas may pose a human health risk for shellfish consumers. Shellfish growing areas that are identified through a stand-alone Pearl analysis are candidates for closure rule adjustments. Run in tandem mode with a previously released model, Aquarius, Pearl can be used to adjust closure rules and maximize the number of days a shellfish growing area can remain open to harvest with no increased risk of illness to shellfish consumers. Pearl increases the sensitivity of the existing National Shellfish Sanitation Program's closure assessment method. The use of Pearl could open harvesting areas that might otherwise be closed, thereby increasing the profits of shellfish growers with no increased risk of illness to shellfish consumers.

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