Geoduck industry fighting China’s shellfish-import ban – Seattle Times

Washington geoduck harvesters and government officials, including Gov. Jay Inslee, are scrambling to overturn China’s decision to ban some shellfish exports from the Pacific Northwest. The ban has brought the geoduck industry here to a virtual halt. Jay Greene reports.

3 Responses

  1. Here’s what we know. Puget Sound geoduck sampled by the Chinese were higher than their standards for arsenic. While there are currently no US standards for arsenic, past sampling in Puget Sound showed levels of inorganic arsenic close to the Chinese standards for organic arsenic. Organic arsenic in those samples was at 1% of the standard. So this could well be someone in China applying the wrong test. Much is lost in translation. The other factor to keep in mind is that arsenic, like all heavy metals, bio-accumulates. The older the animal the higher the metal load. Finally the geoduck in question came from a wild track that is next to the old ASARCO plant in Rustin. While DNR and DOH tested animals from this tract for arsenic before they opened it for commercial fishing, we don’t have a large enough data set to say definitively that different individuals may accumulate at different rates. However, if you were ever going to see arsenic in geoduck in Washington State, this would be the place to look for it.


  2. We’ll see, but it sounds, at first glance, more geo-political than really related to an issue with the ducks. Since they are not communicating with our government outreach, and their standards arbitrarily changed, it’s looking like something not quite kosher.

  3. I believe the Jamestown S’Klallam tribe identified increasing water temperatures and the associated problems with higher levels of toxins linked to shellfish poisoning as a “Key Area of Concern” in their 2013 Climate Adaption Plan.

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