We monitor our county's recreational shellfish beds to ensure the shellfish are safe to eat. This is important because eating shellfish can be dangerous if they are affected by pollution or by marine biotoxins. Marine biotoxins, produced by certain algae, can make people sick—and even cause death.
Our Pollution Identification and Control team investigates—and works to correct—the causes of any pollution we discover, helping to prevent future pollution by educating landowners, boaters and the public about how they can prevent pollution in our shellfish beds.
When we discover pollution or marine biotoxins in a shellfish bed, we work to get the word out to the public by:
- Posting warning signs along affected areas;
- Posting information on our website;
- Engaging the local media to publicize the situation;
- Posting the information on our Facebook page;
- Distributing information though our list serve.
About the Kitsap Public Health District Shellfish Monitoring Program
The Kitsap Public Health District staff collect shellfish for testing at 12 locations during the summer and fall, and at nine locations year-round. Samples, usually mussels, are collected for and sent to the Washington State Department of Health lab, where they are tested for three marine biotoxins: PSP, DSP and ASP. Shorelines are closed to harvesting when toxin levels exceed safe levels. Shorelines are re-opened for harvesting once two consecutive samples are obtained and toxin levels are safe.