New Algal Threat to Puget Shellfish Eaters Draws Event Response Funding
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science provided funds so that the state of Washington’s Department of Health, the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center HAB Program, and the SoundToxins partnership can analyze diarretic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins in shellfish and monitor for Dinophysis, the dinoflagellate that produces the toxins. In 2011 three people became ill with DSP for the first time in Washington. Before the state could fully develop its capacity to monitor for DSP, toxicity recurred this year in more locations and in more shellfish species.
The state needs additional toxin analyses to determine where shellfish harvesting should be closed to protect public health. SoundToxins monitors for the presence of Dinophysis in the water as an early warning system for new areas of shellfish toxicity. NCCOS provides funds through our Event Response Program.