From April 10-12, 2012, Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Servicesreportedthree suspected cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning caused by blooms of the harmful alga Alexandrium. Allthree individuals ate shellfish harvested in the Juneau area that weekend.
The National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science quickly connected the state health department with NOAA’s Weather Service in Alaska to help warn the public via NOAA Weather Radio and via the NWS Juneau website. NCCOS also alerted southeast Alaska HAB partners who also offered assistance.
This isn’t the first time NOAA offices have cooperated to warn harvesters in remote locations of toxin-tainted shellfish. Over a holiday weekend in 2010, state officials broadcasted a message over the NOAA Weather Radio frequency to warn bivalve gatherers in Maine. In June of last year, authorities in Alaska used the channel toissue a strongly worded warning to the public that ‘eating a single mussel could result in death.’