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Closure area expanded for shellfish harvesting along Bainbridge shore
The shellfish harvesting ban was expanded in Port Orchard Narrows late Tuesday after very high levels of marine biotoxins that cause paralytic shellfish poisoning were detected in shellfish samples from the Liberty Bay Marina.
Samples of mussels collected on July 28 from the Liberty Bay Marina in Poulsbo contained PSP toxin concentrations of 747 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish tissue, county health officials said.
Shorelines are closed to shellfish harvesting when toxin levels exceed 80 micrograms per 100 grams of tissue.
The Washington State Department of Health and the Kitsap Public Health District expanded the biotoxin closure area on the west shoreline of Bainbridge Island from the Point White north to Point Monroe, and on the east shoreline of the Kitsap mainland from Point Jefferson south to Illahee State Park, including all bays and inlets (including Liberty Bay and Miller Bay). All recreational shellfish harvesting for all species of clams, oysters and mussels is prohibited.
Officials also noted that existing biotoxin closures for all species of shellfish are in effect for butter clams and varnish clams remains on Kitsap County’s eastern shoreline from the Point No Point in Hansville south to the south shoreline of Bainbridge Island and closures for varnish clams only remains in effect for Yukon Harbor and Colvos Passage to the Pierce County line.
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. Shellfish harvested commercially that are available in stores and restaurants are tested for toxins prior to distribution, and are safe to eat.
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.