Local

Shellfish harvests at 3 beaches shut down

The state Health Department has temporarily closed the harvest of oysters, as well as clams and mussels, from Commencement Bay and the Tacoma Narrows because of an increase in paralytic shellfish poison.
The state Health Department has temporarily closed the harvest of oysters, as well as clams and mussels, from Commencement Bay and the Tacoma Narrows because of an increase in paralytic shellfish poison. chill@thenewstribune.com

Dangerous levels of paralytic shellfish poison have led the state Department of Health to shut down recreational shellfish harvests at three Pierce County beaches.

Clams, mussels and oysters are not safe to harvest from Day Island and Point Fosdick north to the King and Kitsap county lines, including Commencement Bay, Colvos Passage or the Tacoma Narrows, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department announced Thursday.

The county Health Department has put up signs telling visitors that the beaches are closed to harvest.

Paralytic shellfish poison is produced by microscopic algae and affects the nervous system and paralyzes muscles. High levels of the biotoxin can cause death within 30 minutes.

Symptoms of paralytic shellfish poison include tingling in extremities, loss of control of arms or legs, difficulty breathing, nausea and a sense of floating.

Anyone who believes they have PSP should call their doctor and the county Health Department. Anyone with severe symptoms should go to an emergency room immediately.

Commercially purchased shellfish is still safe to eat.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

  Comments