All Skagit County Beaches Closed to Shellfish Harvesting


August 30, 2023

Samantha Russell


All Skagit County Beaches Closed to Shellfish Harvesting Due to Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Unsafe levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins have prompted the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to close all beaches in Skagit County to recreational harvesting of all species of shellfish.

All species of shellfish means clams (including geoduck), oysters, mussels, scallops, and other invertebrates such as the moon snail. Crab meat is not affected, but “crab butter” and crab entrails can harbor biotoxins and should be discarded during PSP advisories. PSP and other naturally occurring biotoxins are not destroyed by cooking or freezing and algae that contain the toxins cannot be seen and must be detected by laboratory testing.

Continued sampling will determine when closures will be lifted, and the public will be notified when there is an update. For complete beach closure information, call the Marine Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or visit the Shellfish Safety Map.

Paralytics Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) can cause severe illness and even death. Early symptoms of PSP can set in within 30 minutes of shellfish consumption and may include: numbness and tingling around the lips/tongue, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, numbness in arms/legs, muscular paralysis or coordination loss, dizziness and incoherence, headache, rapid pulse, and/or respiratory distress. If you experience any of these symptoms after eating shellfish, have someone take you to the Emergency Room immediately or call 911 for assistance.

For more information about recreational shellfish safety, visit Washington State Department of Health’s recreational shellfish information page. For questions, please contact Samantha Russell at or call (360) 416-1500.