NEAH BAY (July 1, 2003) — Gwen Swan knows the link between water quality and the dinner table better than most.
The Makah tribal member eats seafood nearly every day. She is also a fisheries technician whose duties include harvesting mussels and clams in and around Neah Bay to be tested for biotoxins such as Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) and Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP).
PSP and ASP are both naturally occurring toxins. PSP can kill a person in as little as two hours by paralyzing the chest muscles used for breathing. ASP can cause vomiting and diarrhea within 24 hours and neurological damage such as memory loss, confusion and disorientation in the longer term. The testing of the mussels and clams is a key part of the tribe