November 29, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
Limited Shellfish Opening at Fort Flagler, Kilisut Harbor and Mystery Bay
Port Townsend – Marine biotoxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) have declined enough to allow recreational shellfish harvesting for oysters, manila clams and mussels at Fort Flagler, Kilisut Harbor and Mystery Bay. The area is still posted closed for harvesting of butter and varnish clams due to the fact that they remain toxic for longer than other shellfish species. In August, PSP concentrations quickly rose to over 1,700 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish, and remained high into Fall. PSP levels above 80 micrograms are considered unsafe, and levels in the thousands can be lethal to humans. Crab meat is not known to contain the biotoxin but the guts can contain unsafe levels. To be safe, clean crab thoroughly and discard the guts (butter).
To make sure you are harvesting the correct shellfish species, consult the species identifier chart at: www.doh.wa.gov/Portals/1/Documents/Pubs/332-087.pdf. In most cases the algae that contain the toxins cannot be seen, and must be detected using laboratory testing. Therefore, recreational shellfish harvesters should check the Shellfish Safety map at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State. Recreational harvesters should also check Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.
Always working for a safer and healthier community