Researcher to speak today in Port Townsend on rise of biotoxin closures

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PORT TOWNSEND — A researcher will talk today (Wednesday) about climate conditions that favor marine biotoxins and a recent increase in recreational shellfish harvesting closures.

Adi Hanein, a Washington Sea Grant Marc Hershman Marine Policy Fellow at the state Department of Health, will present a free public talk on shellfish biotoxins at the Jefferson County Public Health Department, 615 Sheridan St., at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Hanein is working with the shellfish biotoxin monitoring program studying natural toxins that cause paralytic, amnesic and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning.

Her talk will focus on recent trends observed in Washington state, with a spotlight on Jefferson County.

Biotoxins have impacted more than 90 percent of Washington waterbodies, causing shellfish harvest closures of from 14 to 200 days, according to a news release.

Closure days are happening earlier and biotoxins are present longer, the release said.

Hanein will tell how climate conditions are becoming more favorable for dinoflagellates, which are the plankton type that creates biotoxins.

New species of toxin-producing plankton have been detected as well, the release said.

Before harvesting shellfish, phone the Department of Health Biotoxin Hotline at 1-800-562-5632.

Last modified: September 08. 2015 8:49PM
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