Whatcom County beaches closed to recreational shellfish harvest

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJuly 2, 2014 

The state Department of Health has closed all beaches in Whatcom County to recreational shellfish harvesting because tests showed unsafe levels of the biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning.

The closure was announced Wednesday, July 2.

The ban is for molluscan shellfish, including clams, mussels, oysters and scallops. Mussels usually contain the highest concentration of toxin, health officials said.

The toxin, which can't be destroyed by cooking or freezing, can cause flu-like symptoms and sicken people who eat tainted shellfish. Symptoms of DSP include vomiting and diarrhea, with diarrhea being the most common symptom.

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

Harvesters should check the DOH website, doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm, or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before collecting any shellfish.

Reach Kie Relyea at 360-715-2234 or kie.relyea@bellinghamherald.com .

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