Discovery Bay is closed for the recreational harvest of all species of shellfish due to diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, according the state Department of Health and Clallam County Department of Health and Human Services’ Environmental Health Division.
Tracie Barry, a Department of Health (DOH) marine biotoxins specialist, said to not eat the shellfish — even if they look healthy.
“There’s no way to know that shellfish are safe other than by laboratory analysis,” Barry said Monday. “Contaminated shellfish don’t look, smell or taste differently than healthy ones, and you can’t cook the toxins out.”
In Jefferson County, Anderson Lake remains closed due to a bloom with toxic cyanobacteria dominant and other toxins present.
No blooms, however, are currently visible in Jefferson County’s other lakes, including Gibbs, Leland, Crocker, Silent, Tarboo, Sandy Shore and Teal.
Eat contaminated shellfish and you’re likely to experience nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea, which is the most common symptom, Barry said.
In addition to the closure at Discovery Bay, Sequim Bay is closed to all species of shellfish, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Cape Flattery to Lyre Resort/Low Point is closed to butter and varnish clam harvesting.
DOH said closed to all species refers to clams (including geoduck), oysters, mussels and other invertebrates such as moon snails.
In addition, all areas are closed for the sport harvest of scallops, although the closures don’t apply to shrimp. DOH warns that while crab meat is not known to contain biotoxins, the guts may contain unsafe levels.
DOH suggests the importance of knowing the difference between butter clams and other clams species, because butter clams may retain toxins for up to a year or more.
For more information about the closures, call the marine biotoxin hotline at 800-562-5632 or visit the Department of Health’s marine biotoxin website at www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety.htm.
Paul Dunn can be reached at 360-452-2345 or by email at [email protected]