“Red Tide” found in Puget Sound shellfish
Shellfish collected from Puget Sound contain enough Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning biotoxin to make people sick. So, the Washington State Department of Health has closed the shellfish harvest in Jefferson, Island, Snohomish, Kitsap, King and Pierce Counties. Commercially harvested shellfish have been thoroughly tested and should be safe to eat.
The PSP toxin is produced by algae that are often more common during the warmest months of the year.
People can get very sick from eating shellfish contaminated with the toxin. Symptoms of PSP can appear within minutes or hours and usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet. Anyone who has eaten shellfish and begins having these symptoms should get medical help immediately.
A person can’t tell if PSP is present by looking at the water or shellfish. For this reason, the term “red tide,” which is often used for PSP, is misleading and inaccurate. PSP can only be detected by laboratory testing.
Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch, and Mockrocks are all currently closed due to biotoxins.