The Washington State Department of Natural Resources announced several measures to address China’s ban on shellfish imports and to ensure the safety of shellfish from Washington’s waters.
On December 5, NOAA notified the state that China had banned imports of all clams, oysters, mussels and scallops from much of the Northwest. China said that it detected paralytic shellfish poison and arsenic in geoducks from “Area 67,” which covers the west coast from Alaska to northern California.
DNR has closed a 135-acre area of state-owned aquatic lands in Puget Sound managed by DNR, to harvest geoducks. This area was identified as the source of China’s concern about high arsenic levels.
“Out of respect for China’s recent action, DNR is working with sister agencies, including the State Department of Health and NOAA, as well as tribal and industry partners, to investigate China’s concerns,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “While state and federal testing results to date have not raised any health concerns, we take these steps out of an abundance of caution.”