Red tide closures lifted for some areas

Shellfish harvesters can jump back in the water. The previous Paralytic Shellfish Poison, or “red tide,” closure in Agate Pass has been lifted, according to the Kitsap County Health District.

Shellfish harvesters can jump back in the water. The previous Paralytic Shellfish Poison, or “red tide,” closure in Agate Pass has been lifted, according to the Kitsap County Health District.

Recent shellfish samples collected from Agate Pass and Blakley Harbor indicate the concentration of the PSP Biotoxin has dropped to safe levels in mussels, littleneck clams and oysters.

Another closure that includes the entire eastern side of Bainbridge Island from Point Monroe to South Beach, now only includes harvesting butter clams.

A butter clam sample has not been collected from the east side of Bainbridge Island since the end of October, however a recent sample from Skiff Point contained a toxin concentration of 172 micrograms per 100 grams of shellfish tissue.

Beaches are closed when toxin levels exceed 80 micrograms.

“Butter clams typically hold onto the PSP toxin much longer than other species of clams,” said Shawn Ultican, Environmental Health Specialist with KCHD. “So we need more recent samples of butter clams to determine whether or not they’re safe to eat now. We’ll be collecting additional samples and we should know more in the next few weeks.”

The northern portion of Dyes Inlet remains closed to harvesting of all species of mussels, clams and oysters. This area ranges from Silverdale south to Erlands Point and Tracyton, including Chico Bay.

Maps of the closed areas are available at the Department of Health web site, http://doh.wa.gov. Look for the link, “Recreational Shellfish Beach Closures” under the Highlights column on the right side of the page.

The health district’s water quality program can be reached at (360) 337-5245. More information is available on the district’s 24-hour hotline at 1-800-2BE-WELL.

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