- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The state Department of Health says its restricting shellfish harvesting for part of the Portage Bay in Whatcom County due to high levels of bacteria.

Officials say that shellfish in that area are affected by polluted runoff from the Nooksack River during certain times of the year.

State health secretary John Wiesman says when Portage Bay has high bacteria levels, there’s a greater risk of people getting sick from eating shellfish from that area.

Officials will change the classification of about 500 of the 1,300 commercial shellfish harvesting acres in the bay from “approved” to “conditionally approved.” Those “conditionally approved” areas will be closed from April to June and again from October to December.

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