Marine biotoxins prompt shellfish harvest closure

Most of the southwest side of Whidbey Island has been closed to recreational shellfish harvesting following the discovery of high concentrations of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

Most of the southwest side of Whidbey Island has been closed to recreational shellfish harvesting following the discovery of high concentrations of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The closure extends from Admiralty Head south to Possession Point. Signs warning people of the danger of harvesting shellfish have been posted at popular beaches.

Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other species of molluscan shellfish are off limits. Although crab is not included in the closure, Island County Public Health advises people to clean crab thoroughly and eat only the meat. The biotoxin can accumulate in the crab’s internal organs, also known as crab butter.

The biotoxins cannot be destroyed by cooking, rinsing or freezing and can be life threatening to people who ingest it. Symptoms typically begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing. The symptoms can appear within minutes or hours.

Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact a health care provider or if having an extreme reaction, call 911.

Commercially harvested shellfish undergoes a separate sampling process, so products on the market should be safe to eat.

Recreational shellfish harvesters are advised to check the Washington Department of Health website at doh.wa.gov/ehp/sf/biotoxin.htm or to call the hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting in Washington.

More in News

Man arrested at Walmart in Oak Harbor with stolen truck

An Anacortes business owner reported the truck as stolen. It was found at the Oak Harbor Walmart.

Court day delayed due to psychosis

The woman was arrested on suspicion of assault in the first degree, a domestic violence crime.

Washington’s vaccination schedule draws criticism from Island County

Island County commissioners are upset about where certain groups fall in the vaccination phases.

Public comment sought for Navy’s parks proposal

Those with comments must register by 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 on the state parks’ website.

Capital projects includes funds for big projects to sewer, parks

Several notable projects are planned for this year and next.

Co-sponsored by Muzzall, bill would speed up state reopening

The bill would allow indoor dining, gyms and social gatherings to resume, all with safety protocols

Photo by Emily Gilbert/Whidbey News-Times
Carol Johnston has watched this Pacific madrone grow for the past 14 years. It is slated to be removed during McDonald’s upcoming renovation in early February.
Madrona to make way for bigger McDonald’s

An Oak Harbor woman hoped to save the large tree that is to be cut down for an upcoming renovation.

Lt. j.g. William McIlvaine, left, celebrates after graduating from flight school. He was killed in a training accident in March 2013. His uncle, Phelps McIlvaine, donated a monument to Oak Harbor in honor of all service members who died while serving in Prowler squadrons. Photo courtesy Phelps McIlvaine
Prowler aircraft monument still in works years later

The Oak Harbor Park Board learned the donated monument will probably be installed this year.

Most Read