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State reports high levels of shellfish toxin

Effective immediately, the Washington Department of Health has closed the following beaches in Clallam County for the harvest of the species of shellfish listed.

The closure was triggered after samples collected this week showed elevated levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning toxin.

• Ocean beaches — all species

• The Strait of Juan de Fuca from Dungeness Spit westward to Cape Flattery — all species

• Sequim Bay and Discovery Bay — butter clams only

All species means clams (including geoduck), oyster, mussels and other invertebrates such as the moon snail. All areas are closed for the sport harvest of scallops. These closures do not apply to shrimp. 

Crab meat is not known to contain the PSP toxin, but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (butter).

It is important to know the difference between butter clams and other species of clams. Butter clams have the ability to retain PSP toxin for a very long time — up to a year or more. Areas may be closed for the sport harvest of butter clams when all other species are safe and open.

For more information about this closure, call the Marine Biotoxin Hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the Department of Health’s Marine Biotoxin Web site at http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/biotoxin.htm.

For more information, call the Clallam County Environmental Health Food Safety Program at 417-2328.

These health-related closures are in addition to closures regulated by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife closures can be found on its Web site www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/shelfish/beachreg/. Its toll-free emergency regulation hotline is 866-880-5431.
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