OUTSIDE: Shellfish harvesting closures added in Clallam and Jefferson counties

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PORT ANGELES — Many beaches in Clallam and Jefferson counties have been added to shell closures due to high levels of marine biotoxins.

The Clallam County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health and Washington State Department of Health made the announcements.

In Clallam County as of Friday, the western Juan de Fuca Strait from Lyre River/Low Point west to Cape Flattery is closed to all shellfish species.

Previously, all of eastern Juan de Fuca Strait from Lyre River/Low Point to the Jefferson County line, including Dungeness Bay, was closed. Discovery Bay and Sequim Bay were closed in June.

Closed to all species, we mean clams (including geoduck), oysters, mussels and other invertebrates such as moon snails. All areas are closed for sport harvesting of scallops. These closures do not apply to shrimp. Crab meat is not known to contain biotoxins, but the innards can contain dangerous levels. To be safe, people should carefully clean the crab and discard the tripe (butter).

In Jefferson County, the state Department of Health closed Fort Flagler, Mystery Bay, and Kilisut Harbor for recreational shellfish harvesting for all shellfish species. This does not include crabs and prawns. Danger signs have been posted at public access points warning people not to consume shellfish from this area.

During the warmer months, the natural presence of the Vibrio bacteria in shellfish is of concern. Hood Canal currently has a Vibrio bacteria warning. Audiences should cook Hood Canal shells to an internal temperature of 145 degrees for 15 seconds. Additionally, there are still shell closures in Discovery Bay, Quilcene Bay and Dabob Bay.

For more information on this closure, call the Marine Biotoxins Hotline at 1-800-562-5632 or visit the Department of Health’s Marine Biotoxins website at www.doh.wa .gov/shellfishsafety.htm.

Salmon Updates

OLYMPIA – Salmon fishing in the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) reopened for additional days Thursday, Friday and Saturday after fisheries officials from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that it enough Chinooks remained in the recreational catch quota.

Catch estimates for the San Juan Islands summer chinook fishery through July 16 indicate that the fishery met 44% of harvest quota (800 of 1,800 fish), 17% of untagged encounters (690 of 3 991) and 9% of non-legal encounters (230 of 2573 fish).

“We’re really excited to be able to provide more fishing opportunities for anglers in the San Juan Islands this year,” said Kirsten Simonsen, Ph.D., WDFW recreational salmon manager in Puget Sound. “We know how disappointed fishermen were last year with the announcement of the closure in early July 2021. With this in mind, planning opportunities for the San Juan Islands have become a priority during the annual process of defining the North of Falcon salmon season.

During the July 21-23 opening, the daily salmon limit is 2, with up to 1 Hatchery Chinook. Minimum chinook size is 22 inches. Other salmon, no minimum size. Release Wild Chinook, Wild Coho and Chum.

The San Juan Islands will reopen for a hatchery-only coho fishery — with all chinook, chum and wild coho released — from Aug. 16 through Sept. 30.

Marine area 2

Due to high Chinook catch rates so far this season in Marine Area 2 (outside coast south of the Queets River), the Chinook retention will be closed on Fridays and Saturdays. Chinook retention will still be permitted Sunday through Thursday with a daily limit of two, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. Minimum chinook size is 22 inches. The minimum size for coho is 16 inches. Other species of salmon have no minimum size and wild coho must be released.

Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) and the portion of Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) west of the line of buoy 13 are also open under the same rules as Marine Area 2.

Catch quotas for the recreational fishery north of Cape Falcon in 2022 are 27,000 hatchery tagged chinook and 168,000 coho salmon, with a Zone 2 salmon salmon guideline of 12,070 and a salmon quota Zone 2 coho of 62,160.

Marine zones 1 to 4 are scheduled to close on September 30, but zones may close earlier if quotas are met.

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