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Whidbey shellfish harvesting halts
The southeast side of Whidbey Island and the west side of Camano Island have been closed to the recreational harvest of all species of shellfish. Marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning have been detected at concentrations above the closure level in Utsalady Bay.
High levels of PSP have also been detected in shellfish samples from Snohomish County at the Mukilteo Tank Farm and Edmonds Oil Dock, prompting Dr. Roger Case, health officer for Island County and the Washington State Department of Health to close shellfish harvesting.
The closure area runs from Brown’s Point to Camano Head on the east side of Camano Island and Strawberry Point to Possession Point on the west side of Whidbey Island, including all of Holmes Harbor. Penn Cove west of Blowers Bluff on the north and Snakelum Point on the south is not included in the closure zone at this time.
In addition, beaches on the west side of Whidbey Island from Admiralty Head south to Possession Point remain closed to all species of shellfish.
The closure includes clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other molluscan shellfish species. Crab is not included in the closure, but they can concentrate the toxin in their internal organs (crab butter). People are advised to clean crabs before cooking and to eat only the meat.
Recreational shellfish harvesters should check the DOH website at http://ww4.doh.wa.gov/gis/mogifs/biotoxin.htm or call the biotoxin hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting any shellfish.