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All Whatcom beaches closed to shellfish harvesting due to deadly toxin

The Whatcom County Health Department issued an announcement today that all Whatcom County beaches, including all of Point Roberts and all of Larrabee State Park, are now closed to the harvest of molluscan shellfish (e.g. oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops) due to the presence of paralytic shellfish poisoning biotoxin (PSP). PSP levels have recently increased in southern Whatcom County and are now above the closure limit according to the announcement.

If you harvest molluscan shellfish from local beaches, the Health Department says to be aware: 

* PSP biotoxin can be deadly – don’t risk your life! Avoid harvesting all species of molluscan shellfish during a closure.
* Mussels and varnish clams usually contain more toxin than other species during a closure.
* Biotoxin levels in clams and oysters are not routinely monitored until toxin levels in mussels drop. Assume all molluscan shellfish are unsafe in the closure zone.
* Biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking.
* Shellfish sold in stores and restaurants are tested before shipping and are safe to consume.

County and State health departments monitor shellfish weekly when biotoxins are present.

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