In the Pacific Northwest, biotoxins produced by phytoplankton can become concentrated in shellfish causing Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP), Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and Amnesiac Shellfish Poisoning (ASP).
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and federal and state agencies are working together to determine how to predict potential spikes of shellfish poisoning in Washington waters.
Since 2012, the Tribe has monitored toxins and looked for the type of algae that cause these toxins. In Summer 2019, staff from the tribe, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Washington State Department of Health (DOH) measured concentrations of marine algae in the water and associated fat soluble toxins in shellfish from 18 sites in Puget Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and the Washington coast.
Results of these efforts will help the partners develop an early warning system for harmful algal blooms and shellfish biotoxins, which cause shellfish poisoning.