Health officials halt recreational shellfish harvesting at Oak Bay, Mats Mats Bay and Port Ludlow

Leader news staff
news@ptleader.com
Posted 8/6/20

Recreational shellfish harvesting has been banned at Oak Bay, Mats Mats Bay and Port Ludlow after recently collected shellfish samples in several locations have shown high levels of the marine …

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Health officials halt recreational shellfish harvesting at Oak Bay, Mats Mats Bay and Port Ludlow

Posted

Recreational shellfish harvesting has been banned at Oak Bay, Mats Mats Bay and Port Ludlow after recently collected shellfish samples in several locations have shown high levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP).

The Washington State Department of Health announced the closure Thursday afternoon. The samples were all taken sometime last week.

Danger signs have been posted at public access points by Jefferson County Public Health.

The ban is the latest this summer on shellfish harvesting in the region.

Other waters that closed earlier this summer to recreational shellfish harvesting include Discovery Bay, Mystery Bay, Kilisut Harbor and Fort Flagler.

The new closure includes covers the recreational harvest of all species of shellfish.

The closure includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other species of molluscan shellfish.

Marine biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing, health officials said, and people can become ill from eating shellfish contaminated with the naturally occurring marine algae.

Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begins with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and potentially death. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should contact a health care provider immediately; for extreme reactions, call 911.

Shellfish harvested commercially is not included in the ban, as commercially harvested shellfish are tested for toxin prior to distribution.

Officials also noted that crabmeat is not known to contain the biotoxin but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (sometimes called the “crab butter”).

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