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Thread: Why can't you eat the Mussels in SE?

  1. #1

    Default Why can't you eat the Mussels in SE?

    So I have been told you can't eat the mussels around here. Just wondering why and if that effects the other clams around here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    SE Alaska


    Mussels, I'm told by reliable sources, carry an increased risk of containing PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning). The toxin that causes PSP tends to become more concentrated, and remain longer, in the body and organs in the mussel that it does in some other shellfish. I have been told by ADF&G biologists that, essentially, all shellfish in SE are "at risk" for containing the PSP toxin. Butter clams are another high-risk shellfish for PSP.

    I have eaten pink-neck clams several times, but we have harvested them in January or February, and I always wonder (as I take my first bite) if the risk is worth it!

    Definitely check with ADF&G before you consider collecting and eating mussels anywhere in SE. Unfortunately, we have no certified PSP-free beaches in SE, so clamming is definitely at your own risk.

    Bon apetite!


  3. #3


    "PSP strikes a few people in Alaska nearly every year after collecting and eating shellfish from beaches in different parts of the state. PSP occurs widely in Alaska, and the only beaches the department can "certify" as a safe shellfish collecting areas are those where state certified testing of clams and mussels are done on a regular basis.

    Certified beaches include: Kachemak Bay East...The only certified beaches in Southeast Alaska are associated with oyster farms and are not easily accessible to the public.

    Paralytic shellfish poison comes from algae ... so-called "red tides" in the ocean water. There is no home test outside the laboratory that is accurate in determining the presence of PSP."

    The above is an indication about why you should not eat untested shellfish. The bottom line is that the vast majority of Alaska is not tested for red tide.

    Hope this helps.

  4. #4


    Alrighty then. Looks like I'll be doing my clamming at Safeway.


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