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Shellfish harvesting closed for Port Madison Bay and Miller Bay
Recreational shellfish harvesting has been closed for all species of clams, oysters and mussels in Port Madison Bay and Miller Bay following the discovery of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning.
The closure area includes all of Miller Bay, and Port Madison Bay from Point Jefferson south to Point Monroe on the north shore of Bainbridge Island to the Agate Pass Bridge, including all bays and inlets in the area.
State officials said biotoxins were detected at high levels in shellfish samples from the Miller Bay Marina located near Suquamish on Miller Bay in Kitsap County.
Samples of mussels collected on Monday, Oct. 7 from the Miller Bay Marina contained PSP toxin concentrations of 275 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish tissue. Shorelines are closed to harvesting when toxin levels exceed 80 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue.
An existing biotoxin closure for butter clams and varnish clams remains in effect on Kitsap County’s eastern shoreline from Point No Point in Hansville south to the Pierce County line, including all shorelines on Bainbridge Island and Blake Island.
The Washington State Department of Health and the Kitsap Public Health District announced the closure Oct. 8.
Warning signs have been posted at public beaches alerting people not to collect shellfish from the closure areas.
Shrimp and crab are not included in the closure, but crabs should be cleaned prior to cooking, and the “crab butter” should be discarded.
Officials said shellfish harvested commercially that are available in stores and restaurants are tested for toxins prior to distribution and are safe to eat.
In most cases, officials said the algae that contain the toxins cannot be seen and must be detected using laboratory testing. Kitsap Public Health will continue to monitor shellfish at Kitsap County beaches, and notify the public if the levels of PSP toxin become unsafe in other areas.
For current shellfish closures within Kitsap County, call the hotline number at 1-800-2BE-WELL, or visit www.kitsappublichealth.org. For closures in other areas of Washington, call the Washington State Department of Health’s Red Tide Hotline at 1-800-562-5632, or visit www.doh.wa.gov.