Beaches in northern Whatcom County have been reopened to recreational shellfish harvesting after the biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning has dropped to safe levels.
The Whatcom County Health Department has lifted the ban on beaches from Point Whitehorn north to the Canadian border, excluding Point Roberts.
Point Roberts and all beaches south of Point Whitehorn remain closed to recreational harvest of molluscan shellfish because biotoxin levels remain unsafe.
Molluscan shellfish include 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 most common.
Shellfish in stores and restaurants are tested for marine toxins before going to market.