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Potentially lethal levels of red tide hit Olympic Peninsula

interns Contributor

A massive influx of red tide at levels not seen in at least a decade is inundating shellfish in Clallam County sea waters with potentially lethal levels of paralytic shellfish poison – and the toxin may be moving east toward Jefferson County, state public health officials say.

The discovery of high levels of the marine toxin – called PSP, which causes breathing difficulties – prompted the closure last week of all beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Dungeness Spit to Cape Flattery to recreational harvest – ocean beaches already being closed for the season.

A commercial geoduck harvest tract used by both the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe and the state Department of Natural Resources also was closed after the toxin level was tested there, said Greg Combs of the state Department of Health Office of Shellfish and Water Protection on Friday.

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