NCCOS and partner scientists from the Phytoplankton Monitoring Network trained over 30 environmental personnel from southeast and south central Alaskan tribes in toxic phytoplankton sampling and identification. The training took part during the 6th Annual Southeastern Alaska Tribal Toxins Partnership (SEATT) workshop in Sitka, Alaska. The tribal network formed in 2013 to mitigate the threats of eating shellfish tainted with algal-based toxins during traditional subsistence shellfish harvest. The network grew this year to include tribes from Kodiak, Alaska, scientists from the Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, and local oyster aquaculture businesses from southeastern Alaska.
The Sitka Tribe established a toxin detection laboratory that uses a receptor binding assay developed by NCCOS to detect paralytic shellfish toxins. The SEATT program is now supporting local shellfish aquaculture with a future goal of marketing the sampling and detection program once grant funding expires. Training Sitka Tribe of Alaska Environmental Research Lab 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. Supporting aquaculture seafood production and competitiveness as well as investments in development of tools for detecting harmful algal blooms are significant NOAA contributions to demonstrating leadership in the Blue Economy.
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