July 26th 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
Fort Flagler and Kilisut Harbor Shellfish Beaches Re-Open
Port Townsend – Butter clams from Fort Flagler and Kilisut Harbor are currently showing low levels for biotoxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health is re-opening those areas to all species of shellfish. The recreational shellfish beach at Mystery Bay State Park is seasonally closed through September. Kilisut Harbor and Mystery Bay were previously closed for butter and varnish clams, which hold toxins longer than other shellfish species.
A Vibrio advisory remains in effect for all of Hood Canal to cook all shellfish before eating. Warm water increases the levels of natural bacteria such as Vibrio parahaemolyticus. Eating raw or undercooked shellfish with Vibrio can lead to gastro-intestinal upset and can be worse in children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Jefferson County continues to see increased rates of Vibriosis, the illness caused by Vibrio bacteria, this summer.
Recreational shellfish harvesters should check the Shellfish Safety Map at doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State. Recreational harvesters should also check Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.
Always working for a safer and healthier community