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Public Health News

Posted on: May 22, 2020

Marine Biotoxins Found in Discovery Bay Shellfish

01 Danger - Toxic Shellfish

May 22, 2020
For Immediate Release 
Contact: Michael Dawson
Water Quality Manager
Jefferson County Public Health
(360) 385-9444


Port Townsend  Shellfish samples from Discovery Bay have been found to contain elevated levels of marine biotoxins that cause Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP). As a result, the Washington State Department of Health has closed Discovery Bay beaches for shellfish harvest. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area. Due to the Governor’s Stay Home, Stay Healthy order, recreational shellfish harvest is not allowed on public tidelands at this time. However, property owners with private tidelands on Discovery Bay are advised to heed this biotoxin warning.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning can be fatal. Illness is caused by eating shellfish contaminated with toxins from the naturally occurring marine algae. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing, and paralysis. Anyone experiencing any of these symptoms after consuming shellfish should contact a health care provider immediately. For extreme reactions call 911.

For closure locations, check the clickable map at or call the Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington State. For the latest information on regulations and seasons, go to the Fish and Wildlife website at or the Shellfish Rule Change Hotline 1-866-880-5431.


Jefferson County Public Health
Always Working for a Safer and Healthier Community


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