The problems that plagued and eventually closed the late-spring coastal razor clam season seems to have now spread to the Dungeness crab fisheries off the southern coast.

State Fish and Wildlife announced this past week, the immediate closure of sport and commercial Dungeness crab fishing from the Washington-Oregon border north to Point Chehalis off the southern jetty at Westport in Grays Harbor County due to a rise in marine toxin levels. The closure also includes the Columbia River and inside Willapa Bay.

The area north of Point Chehalis, including Grays Harbor, still remains open to sport and commercial crabbing.

Water samples recently collected by state Fish and Wildlife showed the levels of domoic acid, a natural marine toxin, had spiked. If ingested by humans, the toxin can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or abdominal pains. Other symptoms could include dizziness, disorientation, seizures and difficulty breathing. In a worst-case scenario the toxin affects the brain and can even be fatal. Cooking or freezing doesn’t rid the toxin in shellfish.

Read the full story at the Seattle Times >>

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Jessica Hathaway is the former editor in chief of National Fisherman.

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