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Diarrheic Shellfish Poison closure for shellfish harvesting in Kitsap County
Marine biotoxins that cause diarrheic shellfish poisoning (DSP) have been detected in high levels in shellfish samples from Seabeck on Hood Canal in Kitsap County.
As a result, the Washington State Department of Health and the Kitsap Public Health District have now closed waters on Hood Canal from Tekiu Point north to Naval Station Bangor to recreational shellfish harvesting for all species of clams, oysters, and mussels.
Samples of mussels collected on Oct. 15 from Seabeck Marina contained DSP toxin
concentrations of 16 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish tissue. Shorelines are closed to harvesting when toxin levels exceed 15 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue.
An existing paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) closure for all species of shellfish remains in effect from the Hood Canal bridge on the western shoreline of Kitsap County north to Foulweather Bluff and on the eastern shoreline of Kitsap County from Foulweather Bluff south to the Pierce County line including all bays and inlets.
Warning signs have been posted at public beaches alerting people not to collect shellfish from the closure areas.
Shrimp and crab are not included in this closure, but crabs should be cleaned prior to cooking, and the “crab butter” should be discarded. Shellfish harvested commercially that are available in stores and restaurants are tested for toxin prior to distribution, and are safe to eat.
Marine biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing and can be life-threatening. People can become ill from eating shellfish contaminated with the naturally occurring marine algae that contains toxins that are harmful to humans. DSP symptoms can begin from 30 minutes to 12 hours after eating contaminated shellfish causing nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea, with diarrhea being the most commonly reported symptom. Most symptoms subside within 72 hours.
In most cases, the algae that contain the toxins cannot be seen and must be detected using laboratory testing. Kitsap Public Health will continue to monitor shellfish at Kitsap County beaches, and notify the public if the levels of toxin become unsafe in other areas.
For current shellfish closures within Kitsap County, call our hotline number at 1-800-2BEWELL, or visit us online at www.kitsappublichealth.org. For closures in other areas of Washington, call the Washington State Department of Health’s Red Tide Hotline at 1-800-562-5632, or visit them online at www.doh.wa.gov.