Warmer water temperatures affecting sea life, toxin levels

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SEATTLE -- The summer sizzle is becoming all too familiar. To us the water is a cool haven but for what lives beneath the surface it’s another story.

The ‘blob’ -- thousands of miles of warm water off the coast -- is stressing out certain types of fish like salmon.

“Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has instituted fishery closures on certain salmon populations to reduce extra stress to these fish,” research biologist Correigh Greene explained from Shilshore Thursday.

Twenty-nine areas have already been shut down for fishing this year compared to 23 in all of 2014.

The Department of Health is working overtime.

“Paralytic shellfish poisoning is a killer,” Washington State Department of Health’s Jerry Borchert said Thursday. “This is the first time we had all three toxins achieving this never all three over action level so this is new territory for us.”

Fish might not like the heat, but toxins do as they are growing faster and for longer than ever before.

Warning signs are now sprinkled throughout the Puget Sound. Experts say it’s just not safe to eat shellfish from these areas. Even fisherman are being asked to stay away.

Mongers at Pike Place say they’re not feeling it yet, but it will be very clear to us when they do.

“Everyone will notice because the price is going to go way up,” Justin Hall explained from his station at Pike Place Market.

These scientists are still searching for solutions, but they are paying attention and say you should, too.

“I support anyone who's trying to make it so fish populations stay healthy so that next year we got something going on, too,” Hall added. “It's not just about today with us."

Scientists say there's no end in sight and if these waters don't cool down soon, in three to five years, some of our favorite fish could leave the area all together.

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