The Washington State Department of Health has closed Quilcene Bay beaches for recreational shellfish harvest for all shellfish species following the discovery of elevated levels of the marine …
The Washington State Department of Health has closed Quilcene Bay beaches for recreational shellfish harvest for all shellfish species following the discovery of elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) in recent shellfish samples that were taken from the bay.
Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area.
PSP levels started to become elevated in Quilcene Bay on Tuesday, Sept. 27, and by Thursday, Sept. 29 exceeded the action level of 80 micrograms.
“The results were reported to our department the afternoon of Sept. 30 and we posted signs in the morning of Oct. 1,” Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager for Jefferson County Public Health, said in an email to The Leader.
PSP can be fatal; the illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine plankton Alexandrium. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and paralysis.
Health officials noted that previous shellfish closures in Jefferson County continue. The Department of Health Shellfish Safety Map shows up-to-date information for recreational shellfish harvesting at doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm; closure zones are shown in red.
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