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Shellfish Recreational Harvesting

Know Before You Dig

kachemak bay shellfish harvesters

Subsistance harvesting at Jakolof Bay. Photo courtesy of Dave Partee/Alaska Sea Grant

There are no beaches that are certified or designated as "safe" beaches for shellfish harvesting in Alaska. All recreationally-harvested shellfish — including clams, mussels, oysters, geoducks, and scallops — may contain paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) that, if ingested, can cause death.

If you choose to harvest shellfish in Alaska, it is important that you know the facts about PST, know the species you plan to harvest, and know the symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning and get help quickly!

Get medical help immediately if you experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and tingling or burning lips, gums, tongue, face, neck, arms, legs, and toes, shortness of breath, dry mouth, a choking feeling, confused or slurred speech, and lack of coordination.

Resources

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)
PSP is a serious illness caused by eating shellfish contaminated with algae that contains Paralytic Shellfish Toxin (PST), a toxin harmful to humans.
ADFG Subsistence and Personal Use – Licenses and Permits
Information on subsistence and personal use harvest of shellfish in Alaska through the Department of Fish and Game.
How to Eat Clams and Protect Yourself from PSP Too
Environment Alaska offers information on staying safe while harvesting shellfish.
Safe Handling, Storing, and Cooking Practices for recreationally harvested shellfish
The Washington Department of Health’s downloadable information on the safe harvest of recreational shellfish.
Alaska Shellfish Identification
A one-page chart with color photographs to help identify common shellfish in Alaskan waters.

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