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Chinese shellfish ban lifted for Washington

May 27, 2014

The Chinese government has lifted the 5 month ban on Washington shellfish.

China imposed a ban in December on the import of clams, oysters, mussels and scallops harvested from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California after officials detected high levels of inorganic arsenic in geoducks from Puget Sound. They also found paralytic shellfish poisoning in geoducks harvested in Alaska. High levels of inorganic arsenic and paralytic shellfish poisoning have not been found in other areas of the larger region.

U.S. officials had traveled to China in March to discuss lifting the ban, including highlighting new methods for sampling, surveillance and monitoring of inorganic arsenic.

“The lifting of this ban is great news for shellfish growers and businesses in our region,”said Representative Derek Kilmer, “China is a key export market for our region’s shellfish, and this news means greater economic stability for the workers and families in our region. I look forward to working closely with federal, state, local, and tribal stakeholders to ensure that the new testing and monitoring requirements can be swiftly implemented and we can get back to shipping world-famous Washington shellfish to a major market,”

A Chinese letter said the country will send a team of food safety officials to the United States to monitor shellfish testing.

Geoducks can fetch up to $50 a pound in Asian markets. The U.S. exported $68 million worth of geoducks in 2012, mostly from Washington.

Despite the ban, shellfish growers had been able to continue shipping their product to Asia, with the two main destinations being Hong Kong and Vietnam.

Locally, clam digs continue this week with no signs of increased levels of arsenic or paralytic shellfish poisoning detected.

May 28, Wednesday, 7:06 a.m., -1.3 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach
May 29, Thursday, 7:45 a.m., -1.4 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
May 30, Friday, 8:23 a.m., -1.2 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
May 31, Saturday, 9:00 a.m., -1.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks
June 1, Sunday, 9:37 a.m., -0.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, Mocrocks

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Categories: KXRO Outdoors
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