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How is Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning prevented?

Commercial shellfish growing areas are monitored for algae and shellfish toxins. Generally, recreational waters are not routinely monitored for algae that cause PSP. This means collecting and eating wild shellfish always carries some risk.

Wild shellfish from unmonitored areas may also be contaminated by viruses and/or heavy metals.

It is especially unsafe to eat wild shellfish from:

  • marinas or other areas potentially subject to boat discharges
  • areas near outfalls from sewage, septic tanks, stormwater or industrial sites
  • areas affected by recent heavy rainfall
  • areas affected by toxic algal blooms

Cooking or freezing the shellfish does not destroy the toxins that cause PSP.

Commercial (shop-bought) shellfish are safe to eat because of close monitoring for paralytic shellfish toxins and other contaminants.

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