Kitsap County’s eastern shoreline from Point No Point in Hansville to Restoration Point on Bainbridge Island is closed to recreational shellfish harvesting.
The area closure affects all recreational shellfish harvesting for all species of clams, oysters and mussels and includes the Miller Bay and Port Madison areas as well. Shrimp and crab are not included in the closure, but should be cleaned prior to cooking and the “crab butter” should be discarded. Commercially gathered shellfish are tested prior to sale and should be considered safe to eat.
Officials with the Kitsap Public Health District said in a Wednesday press release that elevated levels of the marine shellfish toxin paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) are responsible for the closure. Existing shellfish closures still remain in effect.
An interactive map of shellfish harvesting areas can be found here.
Symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning: Tingling of the lips and tongue may begin within minutes of eating toxic shellfish or can take an hour or two to develop. Tingling may move to the fingers and toes, and can be followed by a loss of control of the arms and legs, with difficulty breathing accompanying thereafter. Some may feel nauseated or experience a sense of floating. If enough of the toxin is consumed, muscles of the chest and abdomen can become paralyzed, including the muscles used for breathing, causing the victim to suffocate. Death from PSP has occurred in less than 30 minutes.