Public health officials have closed the Quartermaster Harbor beaches between Vashon and Maury islands to shellfish harvesters after discovering high rates of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison, a toxin that causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea.
The closure applies to all shellfish: clams, oysters, mussels, geoduck and scallops.
Diarrhetic Shellfish Poison has historically been a problem in Europe, but has become an emerging threat in Washington, according to King County’s public health department.
The toxin is produced by naturally occurring algae. It’s impossible to identify by sight, and cooking or freezing the shellfish won’t kill it.