Toxin fears close North Beach clam fishery

  • Jun. 17, 2011 7:00 a.m.

The North Beach razor clam fishery was shut down Thursday afternoon (June 16) after dangerously high levels of the PSP toxin were found in samples. Sandra Davies, a resource management biologist at Fisheries and Oceans in Prince Rupert, said the levels in the North Beach sample were above the safe limit but not as extreme as those found recently in Alaskan shellfish. PSP, or paralytic shellfish poisoning, has sent at least a dozen people to hospital in southeastern Alaska in the past month. Fisheries and Oceans has closed all commercial and recreational razor clam fishing on the north coast of Graham Island. Cockle harvesting is also closed. Ms Davies said crabs are not affected by PSP, only bivalve shellfish. The toxin does not harm the shellfish but concentrates in their bodies as they consume algae. Humans who eat contaminated shellfish can have a range of symptoms, from tingling in the tongue and lips, to tingling and numbness extending to the arms and legs, and nausea. In extreme cases, breathing can be affected. Cooking or freezing contaminated shellfish does not destroy the toxin. The geoduck fishery, taking place this year around Prince Rupert, was closed down a few weeks ago due to PSP, Ms Davies said. A PSP closure, also known as a “red tide”, is not unusual at this time of year, Ms Davies said. The levels usually go down within a few weeks. With the exception of North Beach, most of Haida Gwaii is under a blanket closure for shellfish harvesting because there is no testing, Ms Davies said. The only other place open for shellfish on Haida Gwaii is Kagan Bay, where there is a shellfish farm and samples are tested regularly. So far, Kagan Bay samples are fine, Ms Davies said. Fisheries and Oceans was posting signs at North Beach to let people know about the closure, Ms Davies said. As well, Haida Fisheries sent a news bulletin door to door in the Massett area as soon as the closure was announced.

Just Posted

President and CEO leaving Coast Mountain College

Burt will say goodbye to CMNT come September

Marathon day on Haida Gwaii

Totem to Totem race looks to set another participation record

World’s largest animal spotted off coast of Haida Gwaii

Fisheries and Oceans Canada spotted the animal during their Science At-Sea mission

Two monumental poles return home to Haida Gwaii

The artifacts ended up in Vancouver by being taken, appropriated, stolen, or sold through the years

Northern B.C.’s Ridley coal terminal sold, Canada divests, First Nations to own portion

Ten per cent of shares transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

CN train derailment between Terrace and Prince Rupert

The CN mainline is now open, following a train derailment

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Bank of Canada lowers qualifying rate used in mortgage stress tests

Home sales softened last year after the federal government introduced new stress test rules for uninsured mortgages

Most Read