By Associated Press - Thursday, May 28, 2015

BREMERTON, Wash. (AP) - Much of Hood Canal and part of Whatcom County’s shoreline have been closed to shellfish harvesting due to high levels of marine toxins.

Public health officials say concerns about “red tide,” which can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning, led to the closure of Hood Canal from the Bangor naval station to Sisters Point in Mason County. The tip of Hood Canal in the Belfair area remained open.

Meanwhile Whatcom County has closed its shoreline from Birch Point to Sandy Point northwest of Bellingham.

The closures include recreational shellfish harvesting for all species of clams, oysters and mussels. Commercially harvested shellfish are tested for toxins before distribution.

Shrimp and crab are not included, but officials say crabs should be cleaned before cooking.

Symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning usually begin with tingling lips and tongue, moving to the hands and feet, followed by difficulty breathing and sometimes death. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should contact a health care provider. For extreme reactions, call 911.

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