Recently, the entire Oregon coast has been closed to mussel harvesting because of dangerous toxins, now they are also showing up in WA shellfish.

  Willapa Bay and Gray's Habor area closed due to paralytic toxin levels

The WA State Department of Health announced Wednesday, June 5th, that til further notice, shellfish harvesting in Gray's Habor and Willapa Bay are closed because of what's called PSP, or Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. This applies to ALL shellfish collection and harvesting.

PSP occurs naturally, it is a biotoxin produced by some kinds of microscopic algae. Shellfish can consume it, and it is found in a lot of varieties of shellfish. Normally, shellfish have minimal levels that are not dangerous to humans or animals.

But sometimes the levels exceed healthy standards and can become dangerous. According to the DOH:

"All commercial shellfish harvesting is closed in Willapa Bay due to elevated marine biotoxin levels. This closure affects all species of shellfish. Certain shellfish lots harvested from Willapa Bay between May 26-30 have been recalled to reduce the risk of PSP illness. There have been no reported illnesses associated with shellfish harvested in Washington. DOH is working closely with industry stakeholders to conduct PSP testing."

Signs of PSP include tingling of lips and tongue, spreading to hands and feet, and sometimes difficulty breathing. The toxins attack muscle nerve centers and affect muscle control, including lung functions. If you suspect you have PSP, seek medical attention immediately.

The DOH says this is an extension of the issues facing the Oregon coast. Authorities will continue to test harvesting and other areas and will advise when levels return to normal or safe.

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