S. Whatcom County beaches safe for shellfish harvesting

Beaches in southern Whatcom County have been reopened to recreational shellfish harvesting after the biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning dropped to safe levels.

The state Department of Health announced Friday, July 24, that it was lifting the ban on beaches from Sandy Point south to the Skagit County line.

The ban was for molluscan shellfish including clams, mussels, oysters and scallops.

Symptoms of DSP include vomiting and diarrhea, with diarrhea being the most common symptom.

There were no biotoxin closures in Whatcom County as of Friday, but public health officials warn that biotoxin levels can change rapidly.

Some beaches remain closed because of poor water quality.

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.