Some shellfish gathering in Washington state closed due to presence of toxins

Aug 04, 2011 By Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times

All of King County and most of the eastern portion of Kitsap County in Washington state have been closed to shellfish gathering after tests this week revealed the presence of toxins that can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Recreational harvest of everything from geoducks, butter and razor clams to , , and are shut down until further notice, according to the Washington State Department of Health. Workers with Public HealthÂ-Seattle & King County plan to post warning signs along area beaches.

The closures are not unusual. The foggy overcast mornings and hotter afternoons have helped set up perfect conditions for blooms of microscopic marine organisms that release potentially deadly neurotoxins.

"If this weather pattern continues, I think the sites that are toxic will probably become more toxic and new sites, maybe all the way down into Pierce County, will join them," said Frank Cox, with the shellfish program at the Washington State Department of Health. "All we can do is monitor, watch and wait and see."

The toxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning get sucked up by filter-feeding shellfish and can sicken and in some cases kill people. Only some of the neurotoxins produce "red tides," and not all red tides are harmful. The toxins can't be seen, and can't be killed by cooking or freezing.

Explore further: UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Probing Question: What is a red tide?

Feb 07, 2008

Although its name sounds like a low-budget horror movie, you won't find "Red Tide" at a theater near you. To take in this natural phenomenon, you'll have to venture to the ocean, because red tide — or more ...

Cause of mussel poisoning identified

Mar 24, 2009

The origin of the neurotoxin azaspiracid has finally been identified after a search for more than a decade. The azaspiracid toxin group can cause severe poisoning in human consumers of mussels after being ...

Recommended for you

UN climate talks shuffle to a close in Bonn

7 hours ago

Concern was high at a perceived lack of urgency as UN climate negotiations shuffled towards a close in Bonn on Saturday with just 14 months left to finalise a new, global pact.

Study shows no lead pollution in oilsands region

Oct 24, 2014

New research from a world-renowned soil and water expert at the University of Alberta reveals that there's no atmospheric lead pollution in Alberta's oilsands region—a finding that contradicts current scientific ...

User comments : 0