The National Park Service announced August 18, 2015 that fishing for Dungeness crab along the coastal strip of Olympic National Park is closed.
This emergency closure is to protect people from a marine toxin domoic acid, 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.
The closing to crab fishing came on the heels of another closure for recreational salmon fishing on most rivers and streams inside the park. This one is due to the drought that has hit the entire west coast of the U.S. Current conditions in Olympic National Park have made Pacific salmon, steelhead and bulltrout exceptionally vulnerable because of low stream flows and high water temperatures.
Daily high temperatures in excess of 60 degrees have already been observed in many Olympic Peninsula rivers and have occasionally reached 70 degrees (a lethal temperature for Pacific salmon) in the lower Sol Duc and Dungeness Rivers.
The mouth and coastal section of the Quillayute River within Olympic National Park remains open for recreational salmon fishing, as do Lake Crescent, Lake Ozette and the park’s many high country lakes.
More information about fishing in the park can be gotten at the visitor centers or by visiting www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/fishing.htm