US Climate and Health Alliance

Impacts on Shellfish – Climate Change :: Washington State Dept. of Health


In 2011, illnesses caused by Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) were found in Washington, making our state the first in the U.S. where tests confirmed DSP illness from shellfish. The algae that produces the DSP toxin has been detected in Washington’s marine waters for some time, but it hadn’t produced the toxin. Now the toxin is found throughout our marine waters on a routine basis.As the planet’s oceans warm, coastal regions are seeing more and more algae blooms, often worsened by fertilizer and manure that runs off from yards amd farms. These algae can close beaches, and the toxins released can poison shellfish and make people who eat the shellfish sick. With toxic algal blooms becoming more potent and lasting longer, scientists are taking a closer look at the links to a changing climate. What was once considered a summertime matter is now being considered a year-round issue.

Resource Type
Washington Dept of Health
Resource URL
Health and Human Impacts
Infectious disease Water-borne disease
Climate and Environmental Impact

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