China Imposes Biggest Ever Ban on Shellfish from the U.S. West Coast

Published By : 17 Dec 2013 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

In a move that will prove to be a major blow to the United States’ Northwest industry, China has put a stop to the import of shellfish from the west coast. This unprecedented decision will heavily affect the $ 270 million industry in the Northwest.

China said that its government inspectors detected higher than acceptable levels of arsenic as well as a toxin known to cause paralysis-causing shellfish poisoning in recent shipments of geoduck clams that were fished from Northwest waters. This prompted China to impose immediate bans on the shipments starting last week and according to statements by the Chinese government, this ban is slated to continue indefinitely. The ban in question covers aquatic products such as two-shelled bivalves that also include oysters and clams that have been procured from the waters around Northern California, Washington and Oregon.

Officials from the U.S. opine that these contaminated clams were likely procured from the wasters of Alaska or Washington. The source can be accurately identified once the Chinese officials provide more details on the contaminated clams.

In the United States, inspection and certification is looked into by state and federal agencies so as to prevent tainted shellfish from being shipped. Even as U.S. officials await more news from their Chinese counterparts, observers say that the farms that harvested this stock will endure the most. 

For a number of aquaculture companies that rely on Asian markets for a significant part of their revenue, this blow from the Chinese market could turn out to be more severe than they expect. In fact, an official at Puget Sound\'s Suquamish Tribe said that a few thousand divers are already out of work in view of the Chinese ban. In China, geoduck clams fetch retail prices between $100 and $150 per pound.

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