An industry representative says Southeast geoduck clam divers have not been affected by China’s recent ban on west coast shellfish import since they haven’t been fishing recently. According to Southeast Alaska Dive Fisheries Association Director Phil Doherty, other factors have been keeping divers off the grounds since early this month.
In southeast, the state and industry test geoduck clam beds for paralytic shellfish poison on a weekly basis and if the levels are too high, then the fishery does not open. Doherty says that’s what happened the weekend before last (12/7-8).
“All of the nine beds tested too hot or the psp levels were too high to fish. So, that was the first week that this China problem was starting to rear its head and we did not fish,” says Doherty
“Due to the storm that we had come through here on Saturday and early Sunday our boats were unable to get out. So, again we’re not going to fish this week cause we did not take any psp samples. So, for the first two weeks of the China problem, we haven’t fished. So it hasn’t really affected our fisheries at all,” he says.
KUOW radio in Seattle reported last Thursday that China said was imposing the ban because its inspectors had found high levels of arsenic and the toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning in recent shipments of geoduck clams from Northwest waters.