Some northern Whatcom County beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvesting


The state Department of Health has closed some beaches in northern Whatcom County to recreational shellfish harvesting because of unsafe levels of the biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The ban affects beaches from Point Whitehorn north to Birch Point.

Molluscan shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops shouldn't be harvested until further notice. Mussels usually contain the highest concentration of toxin, health officials said.

Crab meat isn't affected, but "crab butter" and crab entrails can harbor the biotoxin, which is not destroyed by cooking or freezing.

Shellfish in stores and restaurants are tested for marine toxins before going to market and are safe to eat

Paralytic shellfish poisoning can be life-threatening.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or .

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