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Red Tide
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Written by Brian Grover   
Wednesday, 30 May 2007 07:40
Warm weather causes toxic plankton to bloom all over the coast of British Columbia whether a month has an "R" in it or not. If you are not absolutely sure that the shellfish you are about to eat is safe then don't eat it. Bivalve molluscs like oysters, clams and mussels are all susceptible to red tide. Butter clams are the very worst, retaining toxins for long periods of time. Cooking does not alter the toxicity of these filter feeders in any way.

If you are going to an area where shellfish harvesting might be possible then make it a habit to call the federal government's Red Tide Hotline [604-666-2828] for an up-to-date report on shellfish harvesting in the area. As with most government services this one too is needlessly confusing. You must know the number of the "management area" you're going to be in but of course this number is not available over the telephone. It is available on the Internet but is incredibly difficult to find with a search engine. You can find it by going to the DFO. Of course, the actual red tide closures are not posted at the department of fisheries Internet site. You have to go back to the phone and work your way through the seemingly endless layers of the voice messaging system. Where appropriate, I have included Fisheries Management Area numbers with each trip description.

 

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