The state has closed Clallam County’s Strait of Juan de Fuca beaches from the Lyre River east to the Jefferson County line to recreational shellfish harvest because of a high level of toxins, it was announced Wednesday.
That means that most areas on the North Olympic Peninsula are closed for recreational harvest. Shellfish harvested commercially are tested for toxin prior to distribution and should be safe to eat, the state said.
All beaches are closed for all species except for Discovery Bay and Port Ludlow, including Mats Mats Bay, which are closed only for harvesting of butter clams and varnish clams.
Ocean beaches are closed for sport harvesting from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year.
The closure is of the for all types of shellfish. Shrimp is not included in the closure. Crab meat is not known to contain the biotoxin but the guts can contain unsafe levels, experts say. To be safe, they advise cleaning crabs thoroughly and discarding the guts (butter).
Toxins cannot be detected by sight or smell. Neither cooking nor freezing destroys biotoxins.
Recreational shellfish harvesters can get the latest information before they leave for the beach by visiting www.doh.wa.gov or calling 800-562-5632.
The emergency regulation hotline is 866-880-5431.