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Shellfish Safety Information

Fishing Regulations Icon Washington Fishing

Eating contaminated shellfish or seaweed can cause serious illness or death. The only way to be safe is to “Know Before You Dig”. Always check for current beach closures and advisories related to biotoxins, pollution, or other human health concerns the same day you plan to harvest: www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety (clickable map), or call the Department of Health at (360) 236-3330 or the local county health department. For biotoxin information only, call the toll-free Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632. In addition, some beaches may be posted with warning signs — look for signs as you access the beach.

Always check both the current wdfw season and the doh health closure status before harvesting any public beach.

Biotoxin Closures

Don’t harvest in areas with marine biotoxins, also known as “Red Tide”. You could get sick or die.

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) & Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) & Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP):

  • Can make you sick or cause death
  • Can’t be destroyed by cooking or freezing
  • Are produced by algae and do not always turn the water red
  • Can remain in butter and varnish clams longer than in other shellfish species

Pollution Closures

Don’t harvest in areas that are polluted. You could get sick.

Pollution can come from many sources like sewage drain pipes, failing septic systems, farm practices, boats, and pet waste. Some closures and advisories are listed on page 131. Visit www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety for the current beach status.

Vibrio Warnings

Be aware of Vibrio Warnings. You could get sick.

Vibrio Bacteria:

  • Cook all shellfish thoroughly to kill the bacteria and to avoid getting sick
  • Highest risk from May-September, especially in Puget Sound and Hood Canal
  • Are naturally occurring bacteria that can multiply rapidly in warm conditions

Help Keep Our Waters Safe and Clean

Human and pet waste can make people sick and cause harvest closures. Please do your part to protect our waterways and shellfish beaches:

  • Use public toilets. Scoop, bag and trash human waste if no facilities are available.
  • Scoop, bag, and trash your pet’s waste.
  • Pump, don’t dump! Use pumpout stations to dispose of boat sewage. Visit https://pumpoutwashington.org.

 

Don’t Relocate Shells or Shellfish!

Like humans and other animals, shellfish can get sick. It is illegal to move shells and shellfish from beach to beach or between state waters without a transfer permit. When you move animals and shells from one area to another, you can accidentally introduce or spread harmful pests and diseases. These movements include activities like:

  • Transferring shellfish to seed your beach
  • Putting used oyster shells on beaches
  • Storing shellfish harvested from other areas or bought from the store on a beach or off a dock
  • Releasing any aquatic animals into state waters for any reason.

Help safeguard Washington shellfish. For more information, visit https://invasivespecies.wa.gov/priorityspecies/infectious-shellfish-diseases/. To apply for a transfer permit visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/shellfish-import-transfer.

 

Year-Round Closures — Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

Beach Name

County

Alki Park King
Alki Point King
Bay Center Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves) Pacific
Bay View State Park Skagit
Blaine Marine Park (formerly Semiahmoo) Whatcom
Blake Island State Park Marina Kitsap
Blowers Bluff North Island
Brown’s Point Lighthouse Pierce
Budd Inlet, south of Burfoot County Park Thurston
Cama Beach State Park Island
Camano Island State Park Island
Chuckanut Bay Whatcom
Coupeville Island
Cultus Bay Island
Dave Mackie County Park Island
Des Moines City Park King
Discovery Park King
DNR-142 Island
DNR-144 (Sleeper) Island
Dockton County Park King
Dosewallips State Park South Jefferson
East San de Fuca Island
Eld Inlet Oyster Reserve (Mud Bay reserves) Thurston
English Camp (formerly Garrison Bay) San Juan
Evergreen Rotary Park (Port Washington Narrows) Kitsap
Fay Bainbridge Park Kitsap
Fudge Point State Park Mason
Gertrude Island Pierce
Golden Gardens King
Graveyard Spit (Dungeness Bay) Clallam
Guss Island (formerly Garrison Bay) San Juan
Hoodsport Mason
Howarth Park/Darlington Beach Snohomish
Joemma Beach State Park Mason
Kayak Point County Park Snohomish
Kitsap Memorial State Park Kitsap
Lent Landing (Port Washington Narrows) Kitsap
Lincoln Park King
Lions Park (Bremerton) Kitsap
Lofall Kitsap
Long Island Slough Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves) Pacific
Long Point West Island
Lower Roto Vista Park Kitsap
March Point Recreation Area Skagit
McNeil Island Pierce
Meadowdale County Park Snohomish
Mee-Kwa-Mooks Park King
Monroe Landing Island
Mukilteo Snohomish
Nahcotta Tidelands (oysters open year-round) Pacific
Nemah Oyster Reserves (Willapa Harbor reserves) Pacific
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge Thurston
North Beach County Park Jefferson
Oak Harbor Island
Oak Harbor Beach Park Island
Oak Harbor City Park Island
Oak Harbor (north of WINAS-Maylor) Island
Old Mill County Park (Silverdale) Kitsap
Olympia Shoal Thurston
Pat Carey Vista Park Kitsap
Picnic Point County Park Snohomish
Pitship Point Clallam
Pitt Island Pierce
Pleasant Harbor State Park Jefferson
Pleasant Harbor WDFW Boat Launch Jefferson
Point Defiance Pierce
Point No Point South Kitsap
Port Angeles Harbor Clallam
Port Gardner Snohomish
Post Point Whatcom
Priest Point County Park Thurston
Rat Island (south of Fort Flagler State Park) Jefferson
Retsil Kitsap
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park King
Salt Creek Recreation Area (DNR-419) Clallam
Saltair Beach (Kingston Ferry Terminal) Kitsap
Saltwater State Park King
Samish Bay (southwest portion) Skagit
Scenic Beach State Park Kitsap
Seahurst County Park King
Semiahmoo County Park Whatcom
Semiahmoo Marina Whatcom
Silverdale Waterfront Park Kitsap
Sinclair Inlet Kitsap
Skagit Wildlife Area Skagit
South Carkeek Park King
Southworth King
Stuart Island State Park – Reid Harbor (South Beach) San Juan
Taylor Bay Pierce
Totten Inlet Oyster Reserve (Oyster Bay reserves) Thurston
Walker County Park Mason
West Pass Access Snohomish
Willapa River Oyster Reserve (Willapa Harbor reserves) Pacific
Woodard Bay Natural Resource Conservation Area Thurston

 

Harvest Advisories —
Clams, Oysters, and Mussels

The Department of Health (DOH) has harvest advisories or closures on the following beaches. An advisory is placed on a beach that MAY be subject to periodic contamination from pollution sources or MAY intersect polluted areas. Before harvesting shellfish check the Department of Health’s website www.doh.wa.gov/shellfishsafety, call (360) 236-3330, or contact the local county health department. For beach-specific information and other harvest rules and information, check the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations.

Beach Name

County

Anna Smith Children’s Park Kitsap
Blake Island (avoid marina and mooring buoys) Kitsap
Brownsville Kitsap
Copalis Beach (Oyhut Beach Approach) Grays Harbor
DNR-34 Mason
Duckabush Jefferson
East San de Fuca Boat Ramp Island
Inspiration Point Natural Area King
Jarrell Cove Mason
Larrabee State Park (north end) Whatcom
Liberty Bay Kitsap
Madrona (Penn Cove) Island
Port Gamble Heritage Park (consumption advisory) Kitsap
San de Fuca Island
Seabold Kitsap
Silverdale Shoal – Clam Island Kitsap
Spring Beach (Vashon Island) King
Twanoh State Park Mason
West Dougall Point Mason
West Penn/Twin Lagoons Island
WINAS-Maylor Pt East (inside Crescent Harbor) Island
WINAS-Maylor Pt West (inside Oak Harbor) Island