Front Porch: Some beaches closed to shellfish harvest

  • Tue Jul 31st, 2012 7:03pm
  • News

Shellfish warning

The state has closed some beaches in Snohomish and Island counties and in many other areas in the state to shellfish harvesting because of the presence of a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The toxin can cause illness and even death in anyone who eats contaminated shellfish. The toxin, often caused by summertime algae blooms, is currently present in shellfish throughout Western Washington waters, according to the state Department of Health. Scattered beaches are closed to harvesting in Snohomish County, including from Picnic Point south to the county line. Beaches on Whidbey Island are closed to harvesting between Admiralty Head and Possession Point. Some or all beaches in Jefferson, Kitsap, King and Pierce counties also are closed. Commercially harvested shellfish have been thoroughly tested and should be safe to eat.

Warning signs are posted at beaches used by recreational shellfish harvesters to warn people not to collect shellfish from the closed areas. The closures include clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, geoduck and other species of molluscan shellfish, but not crab. Crab “butter,” the soft membrane material, should not be eaten.

Before harvesting shellfish anywhere in Washington, people should check for updated closure information at or call the state’s Biotoxin Hotline at 800-562-5632.

Calling photographers: The Snohomish County Arts Commission is seeking original photos for this year’s Snohomish County photography contest.

The contest is open to people of all ages living in the state.

The photo entries that best respond to the theme of “play” will be selected for a group exhibit. A prize will be awarded to one photographer.

The deadline for submissions is Sept. 10. A group exhibit is scheduled for Oct. 1 to Nov. 1 at the Snohomish County Campus, with an artist reception to be held on Oct. 5. There is a $25 entry fee, which allows each artist to submit up to three images.

For more information, or to receive the entire submission criteria, contact Wendy Becker at 425-388-3186 or