We have results back from our first round of wild shellfish toxin testing this summer. Toxin levels were below the regulatory limit considered safe for consumption for both samples we submitted for testing.
Commercially harvested shellfish are regulated by DEC and considered safe for consumption.
Phytoplankton samples throughout Kachemak Bay over the past two weeks have been dominated by Chaetoceros sp. In Outer Kachemak Bay several of the sub-bays are experiencing Chaetoceros sp. blooms this week. Chaetoceros sp. do not produce toxins, however, they do have long spines on each cell and form straight or curly chains. The spines on Chaetoceros cells can get caught in fish gills and cause irritation. This can be fatal if fish aren’t able to swim away from areas with high densities of Chaetoceros sp., such as when fish are held in net pens. For this reason, phytoplankton monitoring is one tool used by hatcheries to optimize smolt health and inform the timing of release for stocked runs.
Additional information, including qualitative analysis of phytoplankton data, is available in the Phytoplankton Update for May 22nd – Jun. 4th.