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Contact: Barb Maynes, 360-565-3005
To protect people from severe health impacts, fishing for Dungeness crab along the coastal strip of Olympic National Park is closed, effective tonight at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, August 19. The previous regulations allowed for retention of up to six hard-shelled male crabs through September 15.
This emergency closure is designed to protect human health, as levels of the marine toxin domoic acid have exceed health standards in Dungeness crabs along the Washington coast.
The State of Washington has closed the state coastline to crab fishing from the Colunbia River north to the Queets River due to elevated domoic acid levels. Tonight's park regulation change will extend the closure northward along the entire coastal strip of Olympic National Park.
Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin produced by certain types of marine algae. Fish and shellfish that consume these algae accumulate domoic acid in their tissues. While apparently harmless to fish and shellfish, domoic acid can cause a devastating illness known as amnesic shellfish poisoning in humans. Cooking or freezing does not destroy domoic acid in shellfish.
For updates and more information about fishing regulations in Olympic National Park, people should visit the park's website at https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/fishing.htm