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Posted on: June 4, 2021

Marine Biotoxins Decline in Discovery Bay

Jefferson County Public Health Logo

June 4, 2021
For Immediate Release
Contact: Michael Dawson, Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
360-385-9444 ext. 301

Port Townsend, WA. A harmful algae bloom in Discovery Bay that caused a shellfish closure in April has dissipated, and shellfish samples were found to have safe levels of the marine biotoxin that causes Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). Butter and varnish clams retain biotoxins longer than other species, and are still closed to recreational harvesting. As a result, the Washington State Department of Health changed the advisory for Discovery Bay shellfish beaches to be closed for butter and varnish clams only. Signs have been posted at public access points indicating this change.

2021 Non-toxic Noctiluca bloom in Dabob Bay   photo credit John Danielson A red-orange bloom of algae is visible in Dabob Bay, but it is not a toxin producer. Washington SeaGrant confirmed that the bloom was caused by the marine phytoplankton Noctiluca scintillans. More information is available at the Washington Recreational Shellfish Facebook page at

To find out which areas are safe to harvest shellfish in Washington, check the map at or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, visit the Fish and Wildlife website at or call the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431.


Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community

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