September 9, 2021
For Immediate Release
Jefferson County Community Health
Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
360-385-9444 ext. 301
Port Townsend, WA. Recent shellfish samples taken from multiple locations in Jefferson County were found to contain elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). As a result, the Washington State Department of Health has closed beaches in Jefferson County for recreational harvest for all shellfish species, from the Clallam County line to the Hood Canal Bridge. The closures include Admiralty Inlet, Port Townsend Bay, Oak Bay, Kilisut Harbor, Mystery Bay, Mats Mats Bay, and Port Ludlow. Discovery Bay has been closed since July. Hood Canal beaches are under a Vibrio Warning to cook all shellfish. 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.
To find out which areas are safe to harvest shellfish in Washington, check the map at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, visit the Fish and Wildlife website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431.
Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community