For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
Port Townsend, WA. Recent shellfish samples taken from Mystery Bay and Fort Flagler showed very elevated levels for the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). The Mystery Bay sample result was 991 micrograms of toxin, which is more than ten times above the action level of 80 micrograms. The Fort Flagler sample was more than three times the action level. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay, Kilisut Harbor beaches for recreational shellfish harvest for all shellfish species. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area.
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning can be fatal. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine plankton Alexandrium. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and paralysis. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming shellfish should contact a health care provider immediately. For extreme reactions call 911.
Public access points are posted with warning signs and the DOH Shellfish Safety Map has up-to-date information for recreational shellfish harvesting at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm.
Recreational harvesters should also check Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.
Always Working for a Safer & Healthier Jefferson County