WARNING: Toxic Shellfish Alert Due To Temperatures

Seafood on ice

If you are a lover of seafood, specifically shell fish, you need to keep reading. According to new late 2016 research, rising ocean temperatures are leading to a rise in shellfish infected with a potentially deadly toxin.

Shellfish containing toxic levels of this deadly toxin don’t look or taste any different from shellfish that are safe to eat. It also cannot destroyed by cooking or freezing.

There have been a number of vast blooms of algae — so large they can be seen from space — off the west coast of the US in recent years.

One nasty side effect is that some of them produce a potent neurotoxin called domoic acid, which then accumulates in shellfish, particularly filter feeders like razor clams.

If humans eat shellfish containing enough of the poison it can lead to seizures, memory loss or, on rare occasions, death.

​Domoic acid poisoning has also been linked to mass deaths of sea lions, dolphins, whales and other marine mammals.

Seafood lovers got a glimpse of the horrible toxin in 2015, when record high ocean temperatures and lingering toxic algae blooms raised the domoic acid in shellfish to unsafe levels, shutting down the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery from Alaska to Southern California for several months. Though less dramatic, the problem emerged again this season, when harvesting was again delayed for portions of the coasts.

Now researchers working on a way to predict when these algal blooms will occur — so monitoring can be increased to spot the affected shellfish before they are sold for human consumption — have discovered a link with warmer ocean temperatures.

Scientists warned that if ocean temperatures rise because of global warming, this could lead to an increase in the numbers of poisonous shellfish.

All molluscan shellfish (those having a hinged shell) including clams, mussels, oysters, geoduck, and scallops are capable of being toxic. So can moon snails and other gastropods. Other marine species, such as…