NCCOS scientists instructed environmental personnel from the southeast Alaska tribes in toxic phytoplankton sampling and identification techniques during the Fourth Workshop of the Southeast Alaska Tribal Toxins (SEATT) Partnership in Sitka, Alaska. The NCCOS Phytoplankton Monitoring Network developed these techniques.
Also at the workshop, NCCOS scientists provided technical and program development guidance to the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Environmental Research Laboratory (STAERL), which recently implemented an NCCOS-developed shellfish toxin testing method to support monitoring conducted by SEATT members. Regulatory managers from Alaska and Washington present at the workshop received a demonstration of this testing method – approved by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference – for their consideration as an alternative to the mouse bioassay, which uses live animal testing.
SEATT was formed in 2013 to mitigate the threat of eating shellfish tainted with algal-based toxins during traditional subsistence shellfish harvests.Training STAERL personnel in shellfish toxin analysis is a multi-year project funded by the EPA Indian General Assistance Program and the Administration for Native Americans – Environmental Regulatory Enhancement Program, with the goal of having the facility FDA-certified for algal toxin testing by 2017.