For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
Port Townsend, WA. Harmful algae blooms continue to expand in Jefferson County. Recent shellfish samples taken from Quilcene Bay were found to contain elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). As a result, the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has closed Quilcene Bay beaches for recreational shellfish harvest for all shellfish species. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area.
Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning can be fatal. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine plankton Alexandrium. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and paralysis. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming shellfish should contact a health care provider immediately. For extreme reactions call 911.
Previous shellfish closures in Jefferson County continue. The DOH Shellfish Safety Map shows up-to-date information for recreational shellfish harvesting at www.doh.wa.gov/ShellfishSafety.htm and closure zones are shown in red.
Recreational harvesters should also check Fish and Wildlife regulations and seasons at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.
Always Working for a Safer & Healthier Jefferson County