An unusually large bloom of toxic algae, which could poisonboth humans and shellfish, has been detected in the oceanoff the northwest coast of Washington state. OceanographerVera Trainer says,”The levels of toxin are the highest we’ve ever seen.”Shellfish tainted by the same type of poisonous algae offPrince Edward Island in Canada killed 3 people in 1987.
The algae, called pseudo-nitzschia, produce domoic acid,also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poison, which can damage theareas of the brain used for memory and learning, causingpermanent short-term memory loss. It’s lethal in higherdoses. Once it builds up in shellfish, they can remaindangerous for a year.