Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Clear and present danger: monitoring and management of lipophilic shellfish toxins in Washington State


NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) Monitoring and Event Response to Harmful Algal Blooms ( The next link/button will exit from NWFSC web site MERHAB) program

Project Period

Sept 1, 2015 – August 31, 2018

Program Contact

Vera Trainer, NWFSC Marine Biotoxin Program
Marc Suddleson, Program Manager NCCOS MERHAB program

NWFSC Co-Investigators

Bich-Thuy Eberhart, Brian Bill, Nicolaus Adams, Penelope Xian (ERT contractor)

Project background

Lipophilic shellfish toxins comprise an extensive suite of compounds including those associated with the human syndromes known as diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) and azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP). As a result of recent bloom events and subsequent human intoxications in Washington State (USA) due to DSP, there is a critical and urgent need for State public health officials to be able to monitor and accurately quantify harmful algal bloom (HAB) species associated with DSP and azaspiracid shellfish poisoning (AZP) and their toxins. There is now evidence that lipophilic toxins associated with DSP and AZP are present in water and/or shellfish, including oysters and mussels from Puget Sound and razor clams from the WA coast.



    Dinophysis dividing. Photo courtesy of Anthony Odell, ORHAB.
    View images.
    Learn more about Okadaic Acid (DSP) in shellfish (download the PDF).
    SoundToxins: Be on the lookout for these new species of concern (download the PDF).