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Gloucester, MA, United States

DeGrasse S.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Conrad S.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | DiStefano P.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | Vanegas C.,U.S. Food and Drug Administration | And 10 more authors.
Deep-Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography | Year: 2014

Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) is the foodborne intoxication associated with the consumption of seafood contaminated with naturally occurring neurotoxins known as paralytic shellfish toxins. To protect public health from this potentially fatal syndrome, harvesting closures are implemented when toxins exceed the regulatory action level. Traditional monitoring programs established by state shellfish authorities allow for timely closures in state waters with minimal negative impacts on industry. However, such monitoring programs are not feasible in federal offshore waters given their distance from shore and the range of their spatial coverage. Thus innovative management strategies were investigated for these offshore resources. Georges Bank, an offshore resource with an estimated market value of more than $3 billion in Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs, has been closed to harvesting following a temporary ban in 1989 and a subsequent indefinite closure in 1990 due to the risk of PSP. As a means of managing this risk and allowing harvest of safe shellfish from this important resource, the Onboard Screening Dockside Testing Protocol (referred to as the Protocol) was developed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), state shellfish control authorities, and industry. The Protocol, which sets forth control measures to ensure product safety and public health protection, was endorsed by the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference (ISSC) for pilot testing. Briefly, the pilot study Protocol required that (1) the fishing vessel receive a permit from NMFS to harvest in closed waters, (2) a minimum of five shellfish samples per intended harvest lot be tested for PSP toxins onboard, and (3) harvesting only occur when the samples tested from the intended fishing area are negative using the Jellett Rapid Tests or Abraxis Shipboard ELISA kits. Finally, product landed under the Protocol was confirmed to be safe for consumption using the mouse bioassay (MBA) prior to its introduction into commerce. This paper presents data from the pilot study, with primary focus on the advantages and challenges of the field kits employed onboard compared to the dockside MBA, which has served as the longstanding regulatory method for PSP toxins. In 2010 alone, the successful pilot study resulted in the safe harvest of over $2.7 million worth of surfclams in an area that has otherwise been unavailable for decades. Due to the success of this pilot study, the Protocol was adopted into the National Shellfish Sanitation Program Model Ordinance as an approved marine biotoxin control strategy for use in federal waters at the 2011 ISSC Biennial Meeting. In January 2013 a portion of Georges Bank was reopened for the harvest of Atlantic surfclams and ocean quahogs to fishermen following the Protocol. © 2014.

Bethoney N.D.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Schondelmeier B.P.,0 Emerson Ave. | Stokesbury K.D.E.,University of Massachusetts Dartmouth | Hoffman W.S.,0 Emerson Ave.
Fisheries Research | Year: 2013

Managers of the Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus) and mackerel (Scomber Scombrus) fisheries have a goal of reducing river herring (Alosa pseudoharengus, Alosa aestivalis) bycatch. Regulations being considered include temporarily closing 30 nm × 30 nm river herring "hotspots" or enacting these measures if a threshold amount of river herring is observed. These closures could be effective at reducing river herring bycatch, but would result in significant economic cost. The uncertainty of the effect of bycatch on river herring populations coupled with potential economic losses due to closed areas suggests a finer scale, voluntary method may be more appropriate. A collaboration between the Sustainable Fisheries Coalition, the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology seeks to address this issue by implementing near real-time bycatch information systems for this fishery. The first system was implemented during the 2011 winter mid-water trawl fishery (January through March) over an approximate 60 nm × 70 nm area off the coast of New Jersey. Fifty percent of vessels landing in Massachusetts were sampled during this time period. Bycatch information from these vessels was accessed and shared with participating captains using a coded grid of smaller cells approximately 5 nm × 8 nm (10' longitude × 5' latitude). Industry collaboration and the appearance of small scale spatial and temporal patterns during the 2011 winter fishery suggests this is a plausible approach to reduce river herring and American shad (Alosa sapidissima) bycatch. The comparison of the results of this study to potential management actions displays both advantages and disadvantages of using a larger spatial scale to reduce bycatch while maintaining an active fishery. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.

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