Geoducks, other Northwest shellfish booted from China-bound ships

December 14, 2013 

Geoducks are giant clams found in Washington's Puget Sound.


— China has suspended imports of shellfish from the West Coast of the United States, cutting off one of the biggest export markets for Northwest companies.

KUOW reports ( the Chinese government decided to impose the ban after recent shipments of geoduck clams from Northwest waters were found with high levels of arsenic and a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning.

The restriction took effect last week and China's government says it will continue indefinitely. It applies to clams, oysters and all other two-shelled bivalves harvested from the waters of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California.

The U.S. exported $68 million worth of geoducks (pronounced gooey ducks) in 2012— most of which came from Puget Sound. Nearly 90 percent of those geoduck exports went to China.

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