Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - Invertebrates: Clam - Intertidal
COMMERCIAL - Invertebrates: Clam - Razor
COMMERCIAL - Invertebrates: Geoduck and Horseclam
COMMERCIAL - Invertebrates: Oyster
COMMERCIAL - Invertebrates: Scallop by Trawl
General Information
PSP (Red Tide) /Other Marine Toxins
FN0609-Harvest Shellfish Safely - Reminder to Shellfish Harvesters - Risk of Vibrio Parahaemolyticus (Vp) gastrointestinal sickness

Fisheries and Oceans Canada reminds shellfish harvesters in British Columbia to 
check whether fishing areas are open and shellfish are safe to consume before 
harvesting them and to take extra precautions during warm weather.

This notice is one of several that consumers must review prior to harvesting 
bivalve shellfish. DFO posted information on June 19 regarding general biotoxin 
safety, and updates the coastwide list of openings and  closures throughout the 
week based on recommendations from Environment Canada and the Canadian Food 
Inspection Agency. Detailed information and maps on shellfish closures are 
updated frequently and are available from the following sources: 

A toll free, 24-hour recorded information line: 1-866-431-3474.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada's shellfish contamination webpage:

Remember to check both the sanitary and biotoxin updates at the link above, as 
both types of contamination can be present in an area.

Local Fisheries and Oceans Canada offices(call during regular business hours):
Consumers should be aware of some potential food safety issues associated with 
bivalve shellfish (i.e. clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, cockles), other 
molluscan shellfish (i.e. whelks and periwinkles)).

These animals are highly sensitive to the quality of their marine environment. 
Because they feed themselves by filtering microscopic organisms from the water, 
harmful bacteria, viruses and biotoxins from their surroundings can build up in 
their tissues and cause illness in people who consume them.

When people consume raw or undercooked bivalve molluscan shellfish, especially 
oysters, they could be susceptible to infection by Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) 
which is a naturally-occurring pathogen in BC waters. The symptoms of Vibrio 
parahaemolyticus infection may include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, 
vomiting, fever, and headache. Symptoms usually start within 12 to 24 hours and 
last up to 3 days.

Vibrio parahaemolyticus can be present in bivalve shellfish in harvest areas 
that are open and approved for shellfish harvesting. To reduce the risk of 
illness from Vibrio parahaemolyticus, bivalve shellfish should only be 
harvested at the water's edge when the tide is going out and shellfish should 
be iced, refrigerated or frozen immediately. To kill Vibrio parahaemolyticus 
cook shellfish in the shell, either a) boil until the shells open and continue 
boiling for 5 more minutes to a minimum internal temperature of 60 degrees 
Celsius, or b) steam until the shells open and then continue cooking for 9 more 
minutes. Do not eat those shellfish that do not open during cooking. Boil 
shucked oysters at least 3 minutes, or fry them in oil for at least 10 minutes 
at 190 C (375 F), while keeping the pieces well separated.

It is essential that bivalve shellfish are harvested from open areas and 
handled properly to minimize the risk of food borne illnesses. Only purchase 
shellfish from trusted retailers and restaurants who can confirm the source of 
shellfish, and that they were harvested from an open area. Shellfish should be 
iced, refrigerated or frozen after harvest or purchase, during transport and 
until they are cooked and ready to be eaten.

A tidal waters sport fishing licence is required to harvest shellfish for 
recreational purposes. Harvesters must comply with sport fishing regulations 
related to shellfish harvesting, such as area closures. It is illegal to 
harvest shellfish from a closed area.

For more information on marine toxins and Vibrio parahaemolyticus in bivalve 
shellfish, please see:

For more information on Shellfish Closures, contact: 
Elysha Gordon 

Resource Management Biologist 
Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program Regional Coordinator
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, South Coast Area 
Phone: (250) 756-7192 
or at your local DFO office.

Fisheries & Oceans Operations Center - FN0609
Sent June 30, 2015 at 1356