The Whatcom County Health Department has lifted the ban on shellfish harvesting on county beaches. The department announced on April 29 that biotin levels in shellfish on most Whatcom County beaches have dropped, opening up harvesting of shellfish like mussels, clams, oysters and scallops. Only Portage Bay remains closed to harvesting.
The department closed the beaches due to high levels of PSP biotoxin. PSP is most commonly found in mussels but can be found in all molluscan shellfish and in some parts of crabs. PSP cannot be destroyed by cooking or freezing, and if ingested can cause symptoms such as tingling lips, difficulty breathing, paralysis and, in rare cases, death.
Check the department of health’s website to check biotin levels, or call the biotoxin hotline at 1-800-562-5632.