Technology to Improve Tribal Management of Shellfish in HAB Vulnerable Remote Locations
Scientists from the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) working with the Quileute Tribe, and the Quinault Indian Nation successfully field tested a new rapid detection method for harmful algal bloom (HAB) toxin in shellfish, April 26-27, 2006.
This method accurately determines levels of contamination in shellfish, expediting decisions to harvest or not to harvest, that previously suffered from long delays due to shipment of samples from the shellfish beds in remote areas of the Washington State coast to the Health Department in Seattle for analysis.
The technology, enzyme-linked immunosorbent monoclonal antibody assay, detects the HAB toxin domoic acid within four hours at the tribal laboratories, is a newly-integrated component of the Olympic Region Harmful Algal Bloom (ORHAB) program and part of a Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB)-funded project. The test was conducted in cooperation with the National Marine Fisheries Service, Northwest Fisheries Science Center. This technology has saved the coastal fishery at least $3 million dollars per year since 2001 and has increased confidence in the safety of shellfish.