SEATTLE (AP) — A large portion of Washington’s coast is closed to Dungeness crab fishing due to elevated marine toxin levels, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced on Wednesday.
The agency says all recreational Dungeness crab fisheries from the Queets River to the Columbia River are closed, KOMO-TV reports. This includes Grays Harbor and the Westport Boat Basin.
Commercial Dungeness crab fisheries along the coast, in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River are also closed until further notice.
WDFW announced the closures after testing showed high domoic acid levels in Dungeness crab. Domoic acid, a natural toxic produced by algae, can be harmful and even fatal if consumed in large quantities. Cooking or freezing shellfish does not destroy the domoic acid.
The area north of Queets River as well as recreational crab fishing in the Columbia River and in Willapa Bay remains open. The closures will continue until domoic acid levels return to safe levels for consumption.