Recreationally Harvested Shellfish Never Safe in Kodiak Island Waters

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Maggie Wall/KMXT

Multiple cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning in southeast Alaska have prompted local authorities to warn people to not eat recreationally harvested shellfish from Kodiak beaches.

Five people on Annette Island near Ketchikan developed symptoms of PSP last week with one man hospitalized in intensive care after eating cockles.

Julie Matweyou is the Marine Advisory Program Agent for Kodiak. She says Kodiak has historically had some of the highest levels of PSP toxins ever recorded.

Since there is currently no testing done around Kodiak, she says it’s best to assume that we are having high toxicity similar to what’s happening in south east.

(PSP Danger 1 :37 "South east Alaska…great risk in personal harvest.")

Matweyou says people should not eat recreationally harvested shellfish such as cockles, clams, mussels, oysters, or scallops.

There is no way you can tell whether or not an organism carries the deadly toxin until it starts to affect you-and by then it may be too late to get help.

Matweyou spoke with KMXT’s Maggie Wall:

(PSP Danger 2 1:13 "Symptoms often include…right now here.")

State health officials say recreationally harvested shellfish should not be eaten at any time of the year and that all Kodiak area beaches should be considered unsafe for personal harvesting.

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