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Crown Beach shellfish harvesting ban lifted

Submitted by on 1, December 9, 2009 – 5:40 amNo Comment

29-300x225State officials have lifted a ban on shellfish and mussel harvesting on Robert W. Crown Memorial State Beach. The ban had been in place since October 30, when the Dubai Star tanker vessel spilled 422 gallons of fuel oil on its deck and into San Francisco Bay.

But officials advised the public to continue to avoid harvesting mussels from the shoreline on the west and south sides of Ballena Boulevard, saying tests revealed heightened levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in mussels from that area that they said require continued monitoring. They said the contaminants appear to have come from a source unrelated to the spill. PAHs come from oil, coal and tar, and are  byproducts of burning fuel, according to Wikipedia.

“We’re pleased that testing has found no significant health risk from consuming mussels and shellfish due to the oil spill,” Dr. Joan Denton, director of the Office of Environmental Health and Hazard Assessment, was quoted as saying in a press release. “However, due to elevated levels of mercury and other chemicals, we recommend that anglers should include mussels and other shellfish as they follow the existing San Francisco Bay and Delta region fish consumption advisory.”

The spill closed large section of the Island’s shoreline and shuttered fishing and shellfish harvesting as crews worked to collect oiled birds and gather tarballs off beaches.

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