Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Project Rationale

State agencies (e.g., Washington State Department of Health; WDOH), responsible ensuring shellfish safety, have requested an interlaboratory comparison of DSP toxin analysis and an assessment of the risk of AZAs in WA State shellfish. In 2010, the phytoplankton monitoring program, SoundToxins, recorded Dinophysis abundance in Sequim Bay, WA, at 298,000 cells/L – one of the highest densities of Dinophysis ever recorded worldwide. Although several algal species associated with DSP have been recorded in WA waters for at least the last 10 years, information about their spatiotemporal distribution and toxicity is limited. In the case of AZAs, nothing is known about the organism(s) producing these toxins in US waters, however these toxins have been found in the water and/or shellfish at concerning levels (ca. 60 μg/kg) in Puget Sound shellfish.