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Shellfish and Seaweed Safety Awareness

Eating contaminated shellfish or seaweed can pose serious health risks, including illness or even death. To ensure your safety, it's crucial to "Know Before You Dig." Here's what you need to do:

  1. Check Beach Closures and Advisories:

    • Always verify current beach closures and advisories on the same day you plan to harvest.
    • Visit www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety for a clickable map of beach closures and advisories.
    • Alternatively, you can call the Department of Health at (360) 236-3330 or your local county health department for information.
  2. Biotoxin Information:

    • For biotoxin information specifically, call the toll-free Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632.
    • Stay informed about any potential biotoxin contamination in shellfish or seaweed.
  3. Observe Warning Signs:

    • Some beaches may have warning signs posted.
    • Be vigilant and look for signs as you access the beach.
  4. Check WDFW Season and Health Closure Status:

    • Before harvesting from any public beach, ensure you check both the current WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) season and the DOH (Department of Health) health closure status.

Avoid Harvesting in Biotoxin Areas

Steer clear of harvesting shellfish in regions affected by marine biotoxins, commonly known as "Red Tide," to prevent potential illness or fatality.

Risks of Biotoxins

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP), Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), & Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP):

These toxins pose severe health risks, including sickness and death. They are resistant to destruction through cooking or freezing methods. Algae produce these toxins, and their presence doesn't always result in discolored water. Butter and varnish clams may retain these toxins for longer durations compared to other shellfish species.

Avoid Harvesting in Polluted Areas

To avoid potential illness, refrain from harvesting shellfish in polluted areas where contamination poses a risk to health.

Sources of Pollution

Pollution stems from various sources, including sewage drain pipes, malfunctioning septic systems, agricultural practices, boat emissions, and pet waste. These contaminants can compromise the safety of shellfish and lead to health complications if consumed. Stay informed about closures and advisories through resources like www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety for up-to-date information on beach status.

Stay Alert for Vibrio Warnings

Remain vigilant about Vibrio warnings to safeguard against potential illness associated with these bacteria.

Understanding Vibrio Bacteria

Vibrio Bacteria:

Ensure thorough cooking of all shellfish to eliminate bacteria and prevent illness. The risk of Vibrio infections is highest from May to September, particularly in regions like Puget Sound and Hood Canal. These bacteria occur naturally and can proliferate swiftly in warm environments. Adhere to precautions to minimize the risk of Vibrio-related sickness, especially during peak seasons and in susceptible areas.

Help Keep Our Waters Safe and Clean

Human and pet waste can make people sick and cause harvest closures. Please do your part to protect our waterways and shellfish beaches:

  • Use public toilets. Scoop, bag and trash human waste if no facilities are available.
  • Scoop, bag, and trash your pet's waste.
  • Pump, don't dump! Use pumpout stations to dispose of boat sewage. Visit https://pumpoutwashington.org.

Year-Round Closures for Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Stay informed about year-round closures for harvesting clams, oysters, and mussels, as closures are subject to change. Always check the current status on the same day you plan to harvest by visiting https://wdfw.wa.gov.

List of Beach Closures

Below is a comprehensive list of beaches with year-round closures categorized by county:

King County:

  • Alki Park
  • Alki Point
  • Des Moines City Park
  • Discovery Park
  • Dockton County Park
  • Golden Gardens
  • Lincoln Park
  • Lofall
  • Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park
  • Seahurst County Park
  • Saltwater State Park
  • South Carkeek Park
  • Southworth

Pierce County:

  • Brown's Point Lighthouse
  • Gertrude Island
  • Point Defiance
  • Pitt Island
  • Taylor Bay

Island County:

  • Blowers Bluff North
  • Cama Beach State Park
  • Camano Island State Park
  • Coupeville
  • Cultus Bay
  • Dave Mackie County Park
  • DNR-142
  • DNR-144 (Sleeper)
  • East San de Fuca
  • March Point Recreation Area
  • Monroe Landing
  • Oak Harbor
  • Oak Harbor Beach Park
  • Oak Harbor City Park
  • Oak Harbor (north of WINAS-Maylor)
  • Long Point West
  • Rat Island (south of Fort Flagler State Park)

Thurston County:

  • Budd Inlet, south of Burfoot County Park
  • Eld Inlet Oyster Reserve (Mud Bay reserves)
  • Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
  • Olympia Shoal
  • Priest Point County Park
  • Totten Inlet Oyster Reserve (Oyster Bay reserves)
  • Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area

Kitsap County:

  • Blake Island State Park Marina
  • Evergreen Rotary Park (Port Washington Narrows)
  • Fay Bainbridge Park
  • Guillemot Cove Nature Preserve
  • Kayak Point County Park
  • Kitsap Memorial State Park
  • Lent Landing (Port Washington Narrows)
  • Lions Park (Bremerton)
  • Meadowdale County Park
  • Old Mill County Park (Silverdale)
  • Pat Carey Vista Park
  • Retsil
  • Silverdale Waterfront Park
  • Sinclair Inlet
  • Walker County Park

Pacific County:

  • Bay Center Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves)
  • Long Island Slough Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves)
  • Nahcotta Tidelands (closed for clams year-round, oysters open year-round)
  • Nemah Oyster Reserves (Willapa Harbor reserves)
  • Willapa River Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves)

Whatcom County:

  • Blaine Marine Park (formerly Semiahmoo)
  • Chuckanut Bay
  • Guss Island (formerly Garrison Bay)
  • Post Point
  • Samish Bay (southwest portion)
  • Semiahmoo County Park
  • Semiahmoo Marina

Skagit County:

  • Bay View State Park
  • Chuckanut Bay
  • March Point Recreation Area
  • Samish Bay (southwest portion)
  • Skagit Wildlife Area

Snohomish County:

  • Dash Point County Park
  • Howarth Park/Darlington Beach
  • Joemma Beach State Park
  • Kayak Point County Park
  • Meadowdale County Park
  • Mukilteo
  • Picnic Point County Park
  • South Carkeek Park
  • West Pass Access

Jefferson County:

  • North Beach County Park
  • Oak Bay County Park
  • Port Angeles Harbor
  • Pleasant Harbor State Park
  • Pleasant Harbor WDFW Boat Launch
  • Rat Island (south of Fort Flagler State Park)

Clallam County:

  • Graveyard Spit (Dungeness Bay)
  • Pitship Point
  • Salt Creek Recreation Area (DNR-419)
  • Port Angeles Harbor

Harvest Advisories for Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Stay informed about harvest advisories or closures for clams, oysters, and mussels issued by the Department of Health (DOH) to ensure safe consumption.

Beach-Specific Advisories

Check the DOH website at www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety, call (360) 236-3330, or contact the local county health department for up-to-date information before harvesting shellfish.

Kitsap County:

  • Anna Smith Children's Park
  • Blake Island (avoid marina and mooring buoys)
  • Brownsville
  • Liberty Bay
  • Port Gamble Heritage Park (consumption advisory)
  • Seabold
  • Silverdale Shoal - Clam Island

Grays Harbor County:

  • Bottle Beach
  • Copalis Beach (Oyhut Beach Approach)

Jefferson County:

  • Chimacum Creek Tidelands (Irondale Beach Park)
  • Duckabush
  • Mystery Bay State Park

Island County:

  • East San de Fuca Boat Ramp
  • Freeland County Park
  • Madrona (Penn Cove)
  • Maple Grove County Park
  • San de Fuca
  • West Penn/Twin Lagoons
  • WINAS-Maylor Pt East (inside Crescent Harbor)
  • WINAS-Maylor Pt West (inside Oak Harbor)

King County:

  • Inspiration Point Natural Area

Mason County:

  • Jarrell Cove
  • Twanoh State Park
  • West Dougall Point

Whatcom County:

  • Larrabee State Park (north end)

Be cautious when harvesting shellfish from these areas, as they may be subject to periodic contamination.

Wild Advisor Pro

Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.