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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, November 22, 2019
Gabrielle Byrne, Public Information Specialist, Public Health, (360) 867-2514 or

State Department of Health Closes Budd Inlet to Shellfish Harvesting
High levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison make harvesting unsafe

OLYMPIA – Washington State Department of Health is closing Budd Inlet for all shellfish harvesting due to elevated Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison (DSP).

Shellfish samples taken earlier this week had toxin levels of 136 micrograms (ug)/100 grams of shellfish tissue. The advisory limit is 16 ug/100 grams. The closure area covers the entire inlet (the area south of the end of Cooper Point to Boston Harbor – See attached).

What is DSP?
DSP is a biotoxin which is produced by a naturally occurring microscopic algae. Shellfish eat the algae and can retain the toxin. Poisoning from DSP can make people extremely sick. All shellfish, including clams, mussels, oysters, geoduck, and scallops can accumulate this toxin. Shellfish containing this toxin do not look or taste any different and cooking or freezing will not destroy the toxin. 

Shellfish harvest areas will be posted as off-limits for harvest. DSP causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Diarrhea is the most commonly reported symptom. If you believe you may be affected, and symptoms are mild, you should contact your health care provider and Thurston County Public Health at 360-867-2626. If your symptoms are severe, call 911, or have someone take you to your family doctor. Be sure and let them know that you may have been exposed to the shellfish toxin. 


County Commissioners:

John Hutchings
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3