Biotoxins close all Island County beaches

Clam and mussel seasons generally run through August and September, but not this year.

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2021 12:57pm
  • News

All beaches in Island County continue to be closed to the harvest of all species of shellfish because of dangerously high levels of marine biotoxins, according to the state Department of Health.

The closure affects all species of clams, geoducks, oysters, mussels and invertebrates like moon snails. Marine biotoxins are produced by microscopic algae that are naturally present in marine waters, but are usually at levels too low to be considered harmful.

Clam and mussel seasons in Puget Sound generally run through August and September, but not this year.

Warm temperatures, sunlight and nutrient-rich waters can lead to “blooms” of this algae at times and can raise the level of marine biotoxins to a level that the state Department of Health warns may become dangerous.

Cooking does not rid the shellfish of the marine biotoxins. Harvesters simply have to wait for the amount of toxins to return to safer levels.

Symptoms of poisoning include tingling in the lips and tongue that spreads to fingers, toes and other extremities. It could result in difficulty breathing, which can lead to death by suffocation.

Harvesters should check the state’s shellfish safety map before grabbing a bucket: bit.ly/3Cv19Gr.

More in News

Council looks to state rep for help with ferry woes

State Rep. Dave Paul was invited to a Langley city council meeting to speak about recent ferry cuts.

Service temporarily restored to Clinton-Mukilteo ferry route

Despite major slashes, the first weekend of an abridged ferry schedule saw some pleasant surprises.

Tides presentation set for Oct. 20

Phyllis Woolwine, president of Shearwater University, will deliver a presentation Oct. 20.

Kurt Blankenship, left, and James Golder.
Hospital candidates talk staff retention, compensation

Candidates for the WhidbeyHealth board of commissioners talked about improving employee retention.

Vasquez speaks via Zoom during his clemency hearing.
Commutation reduces sentence in 1998 crime spree

Rogelio Vasquez’s extraordinary redemption story culminated when the governor signed a commutation.

Beluga last sighted near Whidbey

The beluga whale that first made an appearance in Puget Sound two weeks ago seems to have moved on.

See caption
Deer Lagoon Grange considered ‘distinguished’

The Deer Lagoon Grange was acknowledged as a 2020-2021 Distinguished Grange for its accomplishments.

Woman files lawsuit against alleged child rapist

The woman filed a complaint for damages against her former stepfather 73-year-old Charles Ringer Jr.

Coupeville employees to receive COVID premium pay

From Nov. 1 through the end of December, town employees will receive an extra $15 per hour.

Most Read