Most Penn Cove shellfish areas reopen

OLYMPIA. (AP) — The Washington Health Department has reopened most of the commercial and recreational shellfish beds in Penn Cove off Whidbey Island after they were shut down by a fuel spill.

The department said Friday that shellfish harvest at Madrona Beach r emains closed after slight contamination was found there in the latest tests.

The agency closed the area to shellfish harvest in mid-May after the derelict fishing boat Deep Sea burned and sank, causing a fuel spill. Some areas reopened Tuesday.

Agency spokesman Donn Moyer says a new round of smell and taste tests this week showed Penn Cove mussels in the newly reopened areas are safe to eat.

A crane barge raised the 140-foot ship last weekend and it was towed to Seattle on Wednesday to be scrapped. It sank May 12.

The Washington Ecology Department says the spill response by various agencies has cost the state nearly $2 million.