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TILLAMOOK -- Mark Wiegardt was 15 when he went overseas to learn about the multi-million dollar oyster industry in Japan.

Now with his own company, the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery, he wants to help that country's industry recover from the annihilation caused by the recent tsunami.

Imagine if you're a shellfish farmer, he said, your entire crop is probably up on the beach, on mud, dead.

Wiegardt and his wife have decided to donate shellfish larvae they don't sell locally to farmers in Japan. His 24,000 gallon tanks hold larvae now. They appear as fine grain when filtered out.

Even son Max has caught the spirit.

A while back they helped build the whole oyster industry here, Max said of Japanese oyster farms, Knowing that all those oysters were growing right now are originally from Japan is reason to give back.

Dad knows the value of a helping hand. His hatchery was hit hard five years ago with a buildup of CO2 in Netarts Bay.

The state of Oregon helped us when the chips were down for us, and you know when somebody helps you out, and helps save your business, you got to pay back, he said.

They hope the shipment of larvae can leave for Japan in about a month.

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