Shellfish harvesting ban lifted for most Whatcom beaches

The state Department of Health has reopened most beaches in Whatcom County to recreational shellfish harvesting after the biotoxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning dropped to safe levels.

The ban had affected beaches from Sandy Point north to the border, including Point Roberts, but is now lifted. It was the second biotoxin related closure in less than a month.

Portage Bay remains closed to the harvest of varnish clams.

Paralytic shellfish poisoning can be life-threatening. Algae containing the biotoxin can’t be seen and is determined by testing. The state regularly tests for biotoxin levels.

Before harvesting any shellfish, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, always check the biotoxin website at doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm or call the biotoxin Hotline at 1-800- 562-5632.