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Biotoxin closes all Whatcom beaches to recreational shellfish harvesting

All of Whatcom County, including all of Point Roberts and all of Larrabee State Park, is now closed to the harvest of molluscan shellfish due to the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning biotoxin.
All of Whatcom County, including all of Point Roberts and all of Larrabee State Park, is now closed to the harvest of molluscan shellfish due to the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning biotoxin. The Bellingham Herald file

Don’t gather and eat shellfish from Whatcom County beaches in the coming days if you don’t want to get sick.

The state Department of Health has closed all local beaches to recreational shellfish harvesting because tests show unsafe levels of the biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Health officials said the ban includes all of Point Roberts and Larrabee State Park.

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.

Kie Relyea: 360-715-2234, @kierelyea

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