Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) advisory lifted for Starrigavan Beach North in Sitka, but others remain

snapshotseatorshellfish11172016

The SouthEast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) project, SouthEast Alaska Tribal Toxins (SEATT) partnership and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Environmental Research Lab (STAERL) on Thursday, Nov. 17, lifted an advisory warning that people should not eat molluscan shellfish (bivalves such as clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, geoducks, cockles, etc.) harvested at Starrigavan Beach North in Sitka.

However, the recent harmful algal bloom warning for the Sitka Sound Science Center Beach remains in place. There also have been new warnings issued on Wednesday, Nov. 16, for Gartina/Harbor Way Beach in Hoonah and the Annette Island/Moss Point and Sand Bar beaches in Metlakatla.

Esther Kennedy of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Resource Protection Department samples water near the Starrigavan Recreation Area dock for marine biotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning. (Photos by Emily Kwong, KCAW-Raven Radio)

Esther Kennedy of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Resource Protection Department samples water near the Starrigavan Recreation Area dock for marine biotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning. (Photo by Emily Kwong, KCAW-Raven Radio)

Samples harvested by STAERL at Starrigavan Beach North on Monday, Oct. 31, had elevated levels of the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins above the FDA regulatory limit of 80µg/100g. When samples were taken on Monday, Nov. 14, the toxin levels had dropped below the regulatory limit, which allowed SEATOR to lift the advisory, which includes little-neck clams, butter clams and cockle clams.

The Sitka Sound Science Center Beach advisory is based on shellfish harvested on Oct. 24. Molluscan shellfish from this site should not be harvested at this time. The Hoonah and Metlakatla advisories are based on shellfish harvested on Monday, Nov. 14, having PSP toxins above the FDA regulatory limit.

The PSP advisories are for bivalve shellfish that have been recreationally or subsistence harvested. It does not apply to commercially harvested shellfish, which are tested before they enter the market. The advisory does not apply to other shellfish, such as crabs or shrimp, which do not carry PSP (unless you eat the crab butter or viscera).

There have been several harmful algal bloom alerts released by SEATOR this summer, but this recent announcement is a good reminder that PSP can happen throughout the year. It also discredits the myth that you don’t have to worry about shellfish harvested in months containing an R.

According to SEATOR, “This does not ‘certify’ any of our monitored sites. Conditions may change rapidly and data is site-specific. Caution should always be taken prior to harvesting.”

The butter clam has one set of rings that go one direction only, around the same center point (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)

SEATOR posts updates and information to its website at seator.org/data, which can help provide Southeast Alaska residents with reliable information so they can choose whether or not to harvest shellfish. In addition to testing water samples weekly from certain Southeast beaches, STAERL also tests samples of butter clams, littleneck clams, and blue mussels (which is STAERL’s indicator species, because of how quickly blue mussels absorb saxotoxins).

In addition to the saxitoxins that cause PSP, the lab in Sitka has been monitoring for other blooms that cause amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). PSP and ASP can cause severe health problems, including death in some cases.

Since most beaches in Alaska aren’t tested for harmful algal blooms, SEATOR and the SEATT partnership were formed in October 2014 to train people to test beaches in Southeast Alaska. In April 2015, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska opened a regional lab on Katlian Street, so samples could be tested in Sitka without having to be sent to the Lower 48, which delayed results. By testing for harmful algal blooms, SEATOR and the SEATT partnership hope to be able to provide information so people can make informed choices whether or not to harvest or eat shellfish.

Harmful algal blooms, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), typically have not been monitored in Southeast Alaska for subsistence and recreational harvesters of clams, mussels, oysters, cockles, and other bivalves (commercial harvests are tested). Even though many people in Southeast Alaska love to harvest shellfish, eating it comes with some risks. There have been several PSP outbreaks in recent years that sent people to the hospital, and in 2010 two deaths were attributed to PSP and other HABs, such as Alexandrium, Pseudo-nitzchia and Dinophysis.

To learn more about harmful algal blooms and how they can raise the risk for PSP and ASP (amnesic shellfish poisoning, which also can be fatal), go to SEATOR’s resources page. If you have shellfish you recently harvested and want to test it, click this link to learn what you need to do to have it tested by STAERL or watch this video. SEATOR also has a new Facebook page, where people can find updates. Please contact STAERL at 747-7395 with any additional questions.

Advertisements

Sitka Kitch to host second annual Cooking From Scratch class series in Fall 2016 (Rescheduled dates)

revised2cookingfromscratch2016flier

LisaSadleirHartPinchesKneadedBreadDoughEver wanted to learn how to cook more and better food for less money?

Join us for the second annual Cooking from Scratch series of cooking classes at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, which is located in the First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road). Registered dietitian and health educator Lisa Sadleir-Hart, MPH, RD, will teach three classes designed to help Sitka residents learn how to expand their culinary skills while also eating healthy and stretching their food dollars. Please note that two of the three classes have been rescheduled from their originally announced dates.

The first class in this year’s fall series will focus on how to make yogurt using nonfat dried milk (registration link). It will be offered from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 14 (this class was rescheduled from its original Oct. 10 date). We offered this class last year, and it was a big hit.

The second Sitka Kitch Cooking from Scratch class is from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 28 (rescheduled from Nov. 7), and will focus on basic whole-grain breads (registration link) using the Tassajara bread technique. This class was offered last year and the students enjoyed learning this simple way to bake whole-grain breads.

LisaSadleirHartHoldsUpJarOfYogurtThe third Cooking from Scratch class will focus on winter morning creations (registration link), featuring baked and fried pancakes from around the world. It will be taught at 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5. This class is new this fall, and it will teach students how to make a Finnish baked pancake called Krupso, the Eastern/Middle Eastern potato pancakes called Latke, Swedish pancakes, and Strata, a baked bread and egg dish.

The Cooking from Scratch series goal is to teach basic cooking skills using high-quality ingredients, and to help Sitkans take back their kitchens and reduce their food budgets. Interested individuals can register at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on the event title to register, and use our PayPal feature to pay for the class). We need at least eight students registered for each class to guarantee they happen.

Class size is limited, so register early. The cost is $27.50 per class, plus a food/supply fee that will be divided among registered participants. The registration deadline is late on the Friday night before each class. For more information about the class series, call Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.

Sitka Conservation Society to host its annual Wild Foods Potluck on Sunday, Nov. 13

wild-foods-4

The Sitka Conservation Society will host its annual Wild Foods Potluck from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 13, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Please bring a dish featuring ingredients that were fished, foraged, hunted, or cultivated in Southeast Alaska. Prizes will be awarded for first place in the following categories — Best Dish, Best Dessert, and Most Creative.

The event will highlight subsistence stories and the work performed by the Sitka Conservation Society over the last year. SCS members can pick up their 2017 SCS Calendars at the potluck.

The potluck is open to the entire community, especially SCS members, friends, family, and anyone else interested in learning about the Sitka Conservation Society. Come celebrate Alaska’s wild food bounty with your friends and neighbors.

Interested in volunteering at the potluck or want more information? Contact the Sitka Conservation Society at info@sitkawild.org or call 747-7509.

New harmful algal bloom warning issued for shellfish harvested in Starrigavan Beach North in Sitka

snapshotpspadvisory

The SouthEast Alaska Tribal Ocean Research (SEATOR) project, SouthEast Alaska Tribal Toxins (SEATT) partnership and the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Environmental Research Lab (STAERL) on Friday, Nov. 4, issued a warning that people should not eat molluscan shellfish (bivalves such as clams, oysters, scallops, mussels, geoducks, cockles, etc.) harvested at Starrigavan Beach North in Sitka. There also is a recent harmful algal bloom warning for the Sitka Sound Science Center Beach.

Esther Kennedy of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Resource Protection Department samples water near the Starrigavan Recreation Area dock for marine biotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning. (Photos by Emily Kwong, KCAW-Raven Radio)

Esther Kennedy of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska Resource Protection Department samples water near the Starrigavan Recreation Area dock for marine biotoxins such as paralytic shellfish poisoning. (Photo by Emily Kwong, KCAW-Raven Radio)

Samples at Starrigavan Beach North harvested Oct. 31 had elevated levels of the paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins above theFDA regulatory limit of 80µg/100g. The Sitka Sound Science Center Beach advisory is based on shellfish harvested on Oct. 24. Molluscan shellfish from these sites should not be harvested at this time.

The PSP advisory is for bivalve shellfish that have been recreationally or subsistence harvested. It does not apply to commercially harvested shellfish, which are tested before they enter the market. The advisory does not apply to other shellfish, such as crabs or shrimp, which do not carry PSP (unless you eat the crab butter or viscera).

There have been several harmful algal bloom alerts released by SEATOR this summer, but this recent announcement is a good reminder that PSP can happen throughout the year. It also discredits the myth that you don’t have to worry about shellfish harvested in months containing an R.

According to SEATOR, “This does not ‘certify’ any of our monitored sites. Conditions may change rapidly and data is site-specific. Caution should always be taken prior to harvesting.”

The butter clam has one set of rings that go one direction only, around the same center point (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation)

SEATOR posts updates and information to its website at seator.org/data, which can help provide Southeast Alaska residents with reliable information so they can choose whether or not to harvest shellfish. In addition to testing water samples weekly from certain Southeast beaches, STAERL also tests samples of butter clams, littleneck clams, and blue mussels (which is STAERL’s indicator species, because of how quickly blue mussels absorb saxotoxins).

In addition to the saxitoxins that cause PSP, the lab in Sitka has been monitoring for other blooms that cause amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). PSP and ASP can cause severe health problems, including death in some cases.

Since most beaches in Alaska aren’t tested for harmful algal blooms, SEATOR and the SEATT partnership were formed in October 2014 to train people to test beaches in Southeast Alaska. In April 2015, the Sitka Tribe of Alaska opened a regional lab on Katlian Street, so samples could be tested in Sitka without having to be sent to the Lower 48, which delayed results. By testing for harmful algal blooms, SEATOR and the SEATT partnership hope to be able to provide information so people can make informed choices whether or not to harvest or eat shellfish.

Harmful algal blooms, such as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP), typically have not been monitored in Southeast Alaska for subsistence and recreational harvesters of clams, mussels, oysters, cockles, and other bivalves (commercial harvests are tested). Even though many people in Southeast Alaska love to harvest shellfish, eating it comes with some risks. There have been several PSP outbreaks in recent years that sent people to the hospital, and in 2010 two deaths were attributed to PSP and other HABs, such as Alexandrium, Pseudo-nitzchia and Dinophysis.

To learn more about harmful algal blooms and how they can raise the risk for PSP and ASP (amnesic shellfish poisoning, which also can be fatal), go to SEATOR’s resources page. If you have shellfish you recently harvested and want to test it, click this link to learn what you need to do to have it tested by STAERL or watch this video. SEATOR also has a new Facebook page, where people can find updates. Please contact STAERL at 747-7395 with any additional questions.

Scenes from the All Beans Considered food preservation class at the Sitka Kitch

brettpoursbrineintojars

kitch_logo_mainStudents learned how to make and can pickled green beans and a pickled three-bean salad during the All Beans Considered food preservation class held Tuesday, Nov. 1, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

This class was taught by Callie Simmons, who works for Sitka Conservation Society and helped teach cooking and food preservation classes to the Sitka Spruce Tips 4-H club. Callie was one of seven Sitka residents who took a Food Preservation Instructor certification course in May from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The Sitka Kitch was a project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit, and is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society.. The Sitka Kitch can be rented to teach cooking and food preservation classes, by local cottage food industry entrepreneurs who need a commercial kitchen to make their products, and for large groups needing a large kitchen for a community dinner. To learn more about how to rent the Sitka Kitch, please go to the website at http://www.sitkawild.org/sitka_kitch.

revisedcookingfromscratch2016flierAlso, don’t forget the Sitka Kitch is offering a Cooking From Scratch series of classes this fall. This series includes a whole-grain breads baking class using the Tassajara technique on Monday, Nov. 7; a class on making homemade yogurt from powdered milk class on Monday, Nov. 14 (this class was rescheduled from an earlier date); and a Winter Morning Creations class featuring baked or fried pancakes from around the world on Monday, Dec. 5. All classes are from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Sitka Kitch (located in First Presbyterian Church at 515 Sawmill Creek Road), and all three classes will be taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart.

The classes cost $27.50 per student, plus a food/supply fee shared among the students in the class. Space is limited and we need at least eight students for the class to happen. The registration deadline is late the Friday evening before each class. For more details and to register for the classes, go to https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/and click on the class title.

A slideshow of scenes from the All Beans Considered class is posted below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Check out the November 2016 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

november2016slfnmonthlynewsletterscreenshot

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the November 2016 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This edition of the newsletter has brief stories about our need for new board members, a new #GivingTuesday fundraising campaign that launches on Nov. 29, two food-related projects chosen at the recent Sitka Health Summit, and the Sitka Kitch hosting a Cooking From Scratch class series for Fall 2016. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others.