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Most Whatcom County beaches safe for recreational shellfishing

Justin Coslor of Bellingham looks for clams, mussels, oysters and sea cucumbers during low tide in the morning at Marine Park on Oct. 7, 2011. “I enjoy bringing home dinner,” Coslor said.
Justin Coslor of Bellingham looks for clams, mussels, oysters and sea cucumbers during low tide in the morning at Marine Park on Oct. 7, 2011. “I enjoy bringing home dinner,” Coslor said. The Bellingham Herald

Health officials have reopened most Whatcom County beaches to recreational shellfish harvesting after tests showed marine biotoxins returning to safe levels.

The exception is Birch Bay, which remains closed for all molluscan shellfish including clams, mussels, oysters and scallops.

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

Biotoxin levels, which can change rapidly, have been rising and falling since April, health officials said.

So people should check for current biotoxin and pollution closures online at doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm, or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish in the state.

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