High PSP levels close Kachemak Bay area to mussel harvesting

Posted: Friday, September 01, 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- State environmental officials said Thursday they've closed a part of Kachemak Bay to commercial mussel harvesting after high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning were found in samples.

Officials with the Alaska Department of Conservation also urged people not to harvest mussels for personal use from the area, known as Kachemak Bay East.

PSP can cause respiratory paralysis and loss of muscle coordination. It is potentially lethal and comes from algae eaten by shellfish such as mussels, clams and oysters.

Mike Ostasz, DEC's shellfish program manager, said the area will be closed for at least two weeks. The agency will require at least three acceptable samples before deciding whether to reopen it, Ostasz said.

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