West Coast algae bloom affecting crabs

Crabs found infected with acid due to high-temperature of water off Oregon Coast.

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Crabs found infected with domoic acid due to high-temperature of water off the Oregon Coast.

Commercial crabs have been deemed safe by the agriculture department.

The advisory applies to crab [recreationally] harvested from bays, estuaries, in the open ocean, off docks, piers and jetties.

Domoic acid, also called Amnesic Shellfish toxin, can cause dizziness, headaches, vomiting and diarrhea on the mild end. Severe poisoning can result in memory loss and death. Toxins cannot be removed by cooking, freezing or any other preparation.

The acid is a pervasive problem this year. A large algae bloom of Pseudo-nitzschia last spring grew into the most harmful algal bloom ever recorded on the West Coast, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

The bloom is also causing sickness among mammals.

Scientists have found dozens of poisoned dolphins, whales and sea lions off the coast of Washington, Oregon and California this year. They tested positive for a toxin caused by a massive algae bloom this summer in the Pacific Ocean. 

“When eating fish that accumulate the toxins from the blooms, it’s basically like getting food poisoning,” says Kathi Lefebvre of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center.


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