COUPEVILLE, Wash. -- There was another setback Tuesday for the company growing Penn Cove's famous mussels.
"It's not the outcome were hoping for," said Ian Jefferds, General Manager of Penn Cove Shellfish.
Jefferds said State Health officials told him Tuesday afternoon they detected faint amounts of possible petroleum contact on some samples of the farm's mussels. He said inspectors want to wait a few days and test again.
The company has been unable to harvest mussels since May 12, when a neglected and illegally anchored fishing boat caught fire and sank.
Fuel leaking from the vessel forced the closure of commercial and recreational mussel harvesting in Penn Cove. Tests at a national laboratory in Louisiana found no traces of contaminants on the Jefferd's company's mussels, but the state's final testing did at least a couple samples.
That means the harvest is still on hold until at least later this week and the company will have to depend on mussels from its other farm in Quilcene.
Meanwhile the boat, which was salvaged from the bottom of the cove this weekend, will be towed off to be scrapped Wednesday, depending on weather conditions.
Authorities said there is little chance they will be able to recover damages and salvage costs from the owner of the ship, but they intend to try.