Animated Knots

Publisher Info

Ketchikan Yacht Club (KYC)
P.O. Box 6694
Ketchikan, Alaska 99901

Roger Maynard

The Ketchikan Yacht Club (KYC) is a domestic non-profit corporation, registered and licensed to do business in the State of Alaska. The Ketchikan Yacht Club blog is an information service for members and guests, and a public advertisement for the Ketchikan Yacht Club.

Boating and navigation information in this blog is published in good faith based on the best information available including local knowledge, but is not intended to replace authoritive sources. Mariners are cautioned to use all authoritive sources when planning trips or operating a boat.

The Ketchikan Yacht Club is organized as a social and recreation club under section 501(C)(7) of the U.S. Tax Code; contributions are not tax deductible.

Fishing & Hunting | Safety

PSP Reminder

JUNEAU, November 05, 2013 – The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health
Consortium (SEARHC) warns Southeast Alaskans not to harvest and eat
shellfish in our region.

On October 25, the Department of Health and Social Services announced
that two probable cases of paralytic shellfish poisoning were reported
as result of eating shellfish harvested in the Sitka area on Oct. 18,

After eating two of the clams, the male patient reported tingling in
his left hand and lips. He was nauseated and vomited. The female
patient had similar symptoms with a headache. Both patients quickly
sought care at local emergency departments and were both were treated
and released.

Leftover clams were sent to the Department of Environmental
Conservation Environmental Health laboratory, where analysis revealed
the presence of the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

What is paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP)? Paralytic shellfish
poisoning, or PSP, is a potentially lethal toxin that can lead to
fatal respiratory paralysis, according to the Alaska Department of
Environmental Conservation. The toxin comes from algae, which is a
food source for clams, mussels, crabs and other shellfish found across
Alaska. This toxin can be found in shellfish every month of the year,
and butter clams have been known to store the toxin for up to two
years. The toxin cannot be seen with the naked eye, and there is no
simple test a person can do before they harvest. One of the highest
concentrations of PSP in the world was reported in shellfish from
Southeast Alaska.

Symptoms of PSP can begin almost immediately, or they can take several
hours after eating the affected shellfish before they appear. Symptoms
include shortness of breath, tingling, dizziness and numbness. If you
suspect symptoms of PSP, go immediately to a medical facility for
treatment. Death is rare from PSP, but deaths have been reported from
the ingestion of just one just one clam or mussel with the PSP toxin.

Are Southeast beaches safe for subsistence or recreational shellfish
harvesting? Department of Health and Social Services stresses that
recreationally procured shellfish cannot be considered safe during any
month of the year. In an official statement they said, “Any locally
harvested shellfish — including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks and
scallops — can contain paralytic shellfish poison. Crabmeat is not
known to contain the PSP toxin, but crab guts can contain unsafe
levels of toxin and should be discarded. There is no way to tell if a
beach is safe for harvesting by looking at it. Toxins can be present
in large amounts even if the water looks clear. Also, the toxin can
remain in shellfish long after the algae bloom is over. PSP cannot be
cooked, cleaned or frozen out of shellfish.” The warning does not
apply to commercially grown and harvested shellfish available in
grocery stores and restaurants. Commercially grown and harvested
shellfish goes through a regular testing program before going to

For more information on PSP go to:, or


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