A shellfish harvesting closure has been expanded to cover Kitsap County’s entire eastern shoreline due to elevated levels of the marine biotoxin paralytic shellfish poison.
The previous closure only affected shellfish harvesting on Bainbridge Island from Point Monroe south to Restoration Point; Liberty Bay from Keyport to Point Bolin; and the eastern shoreline spanning Kitsap County from Point No Point south to Point Jefferson.
Now the harvesting of all species of clams, oysters and mussels is closed along the entire eastern shoreline of Kitsap County from Point No Point south to the Pierce County line, including Bainbridge and Blake islands and all bays and inlets.
Shrimp and crab harvesting will not be affected by the shellfish closure.
Advisory signs are being posted to public beaches and access points. Anyone planning to harvest or consume local, recreationally-harvested shellfish must first check the safety status by using the Department of Health’s clickable map at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/eh/maps/biotoxin/biotoxin.html or by calling the Kitsap Public Health Shellfish Hotline at 1-800-2BE-WELL (1-800-223-9355).
Early symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes of eating toxic shellfish or may take an hour or two to develop. Symptoms may progress to tingling of fingers and toes and then loss of control of arms and legs, followed by difficulty breathing. Some people feel nauseous or experience a sense of floating.
If a person consumes enough toxin, muscles of the chest and abdomen become paralyzed, including the muscles used for breathing. Death from PSP has occurred in less than 30 minutes.