Mystery Bay closed to shellfish harvesting

PORT TOWNSEND — The state Department of Health has closed Mystery Bay for recreational harvesting of all shellfish species.

The closure was prompted by high levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison, a marine biotoxin, measured in samples collected by Jefferson County Public Health.

Jefferson County Public Health and Washington State Parks have posted warning signs at public access points. The closure does not affect Kilisut Harbor.

Although diarrhetic shellfish poison is not lethal, it can cause severe nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Symptoms can start as soon as 30 minutes or as late as 15 hours after eating contaminated shellfish.

People with diarrhetic shellfish poisoning typically recover in a few days.

The toxin is produced by a microscopic marine algae, Dinophysis, that the shellfish eat.

The heat-stable toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing.

For more information, call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or visit the shellfish safety map at

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