Shellfish harvesting along Bainbridge Island’s eastern shore has been closed to elevated levels of marine biotoxin paralytic shellfish poison.
From Point Monroe south to Restoration Point, the harvesting of all species of clams, oysters and mussels is closed. Shrimp and crab harvesting will not be affected by the shellfish closure.
Other affected areas are Liberty Bay from Keyport to Point Bolen, and the eastern shoreline spanning Kitsap County.
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.