Thursday, September 2, 2010

Paralytic Toxins in Passamaquoddy Bay

To the right is a danger sign I saw last week in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, a small village on the scenic Passamaquoddy Bay, just across from the northeastern part of Maine.

It reads:
Area Closed

Shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels and other bivalve mollusks) in the area described below contain paralytic toxins and are not safe for use as food.
Paralytic toxins are produced by algae; algae blooms are both naturally occurring and the by-product of industrial toxins.

The prevalence of salmon farms in the area, though, makes me think this is man-made. If my hunch is correct, it should make us sadly realize that no place, no matter how far removed from major urban centers, is truly pristine.

2 comments:

Brian said...

I think it should also make us realize the impact of seemingly small personal choices, such as what food we buy. Eating is truly a political act, and every meal is a vote either for a sustainable, healthy society or for the status quo.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it was a red tide bloom - a common occurrence on the Maine and Maritime Canadian coast. As a life long Mainer I'm well aware of red tide.

Also not to nitpick but St. Andrews is far from an undeveloped "Village" but is rather a busy tourist port. I've been in St. Andrew in a summer rain storm with trash from the street and dock running back into the bay.

While it is quite pretty in general it is FAR from untouched and to assume so is quite ... foolish.