Carr Inlet shellfish toxins at lethal level

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TACOMA — More than a dozen beaches and boat launches in Pierce county are closed due to toxic levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP). The Washington State Department of Health closed the areas to recreational shellfish harvesting.

The beaches include Point Fosdick to Devils Head, including all of Carr Inlet and McNeil Island. Commencement Bay and the Narrows south to Days Island are also closed.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has posted advisory signs warning people not to collect shellfish, including clams, oysters, mussels, scallops and other species of mollusks from these areas:

  • Purdy Sand Spit
  • Penrose State Park
  • Home Boat Launch
  • Longbranch Marina
  • Wollochet Bay Boat Launch
  • Kopachuk State Park
  • Horsehead Bay
  • Fox Island Bridge
  • DeMolay Sand Spit and Nature Reserve
  • Narrows Park
  • Days Island Marina
  • Sunrise Beach County Park

Crab and shrimp are not included in the closure, the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department said in a news release.

PSP can be life-threatening and occurs when people eat shellfish containing a potent neurotoxin. A naturally occuring marine organism produces the toxin and cooking or freezing does not destroy it. Recreational shellfish harvesters can call the Department of Health Biotoxin Hotline at (800) 562-5632 or check the Biotoxin website.

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