Effective immediately, the Washington Department of Health has closed all Clallam County beaches from the Jefferson County line westward to Cape Flattery for the harvest of all species of shellfish. The closure was triggered after samples collected reached critical levels of the paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin.
“All species” means clams (including geoducks), oysters, mussels and other invertebrates such as the moon snail. All areas are closed for the sport harvest of scallops.
Sequim Bay may be closed for butter clams only; for the most recent information on all closures, call the Marine Biotoxin Hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the Department of Health’s Marine Biotoxin Website at http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/biotoxin.htm.
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 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 additional 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 Department of Fish and Wildlife. Fish and Wildlife closures can be found at www.wa.gov/wdfw/fish/shelfish/beachreg/. Its emergency regulation hotline is 866-880-5431.