Thursday, June 2, 2011

Paralytic Shellfish Poison Outbreaks Expected in Alaska for 2011

Ocean conditions that last year triggered algal blooms and outbreaks of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) appear to be present again this summer, according to experts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences.

“Ocean conditions are about the same as last year, so I expect PSP levels could be on the high side again,” said Ray RaLonde, the aquaculture specialist at the UAF Alaska Sea Grant Marine Advisory Program in Anchorage.

PSP is a naturally occurring toxin produced by some species of microscopic phytoplankton that appear in blooms each summer as the ocean warms. The PSP toxin concentrates in shellfish as they filter-feed on the algae. People who eat shellfish contaminated with PSP can become severely ill and sometimes die.

source: Alaska Sea Grant

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