Fishery Notice

ABORIGINAL - General Information
COMMERCIAL - 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
FN0570- Marine Biotoxin - Harvest Shellfish Safely - Reminder to Shellfish Harvesters - Risk of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP or Red Tide), Domoic Acid Poisoning (also referred to Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning or ASP) and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP)

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.  
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) and the hepatopancreas of 
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.

Eating shellfish with high levels of certain toxins can lead to serious or 
potentially fatal illnesses such as: Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) 
(commonly known as Red Tide), Domoic Acid or Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) 
and Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP). Cooking bivalve shellfish does not 
destroy the toxins that cause illnesses such as PSP, ASP, and DSP. Cooked 
shellfish can still be toxic. 

Symptoms of PSP could begin within a few minutes and up to 10 hours after 
consumption.  Symptoms of PSP can range from a tingling sensation or numbness 
around the lips, face and neck, to paralysis of respiratory muscles leading to 
death in extreme cases.

Symptoms of Domoic Acid Poisoning (ASP) usually occur thirty minutes to 6 hours 
after consumption.  Symptoms of ASP can include severe headache, nausea, 
vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness, confusion and disorientation and memory 
loss.  In extreme cases, death can occur.

Symptoms of DSP usually occur thirty minutes to 6 hours after consumption, and 
can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal cramps and chills.

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're 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. 

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:

Reminder 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:
bureaux-eng.htm (call during regular business hours) 

For more information on marine toxins 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 - FN0570
Sent June 19, 2015 at 1139