More Peninsula beaches closed to shellfish harvesting due to toxins

Most of the Clallam County beaches on the Strait of Juan de Fuca have been closed to recreational shellfish harvest because of marine biotoxins.

All beaches from Dungeness Spit west to Low Point-Lyre River are closed. However, the beaches west of the Lyre River to Cape Flattery are open to recreational harvesting of all species of shellfish.

Sequim Bay is closed for all species. Discovery Bay is closed only to the harvesting of butter and varnish clams.

In Jefferson County, also closed only for harvesting of those two types of clams are Fort Flagler State Park, Killisut Harbor and Mystery Bay.

Ocean beaches are closed for sport harvesting from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year.

Shellfish harvested commercially are tested for toxin prior to distribution and should be safe to eat, the state said.

The closure does not apply to shrimp. Crab meat also is not known to contain toxins but the guts can harbor unsafe levels so they must be thoroughly cleaned.

Species that are not to be harvested are clams — including geoduck — oysters, mussels and other invertebrates such as the moon snail.

All areas are closed to the harvest of scallops.

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.

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