Canadian exporters want the government to put pressure on Hong Kong to lift a ban on geoduck imports.
Hong Kong imposed the ban in December after government inspectors found paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) toxin in geoduck samples.
Exporters in the Canadian province of British Columbia where the clam originated said the federal government is not doing enough to get the ban lifted, The Province newspaper reported Wednesday.
Paulo Demee, a spokesman for Vancouver-based Evergreen International Foodstuffs Ltd., said exporters have been waiting for two months and nothing has changed.
“We desperately need their help,” he said.
Hong Kong accounts for about 50 per cent of geoduck exports from Canada, worth an estimated US$50 million.
The ban comes as both Alaska and Washington State have become bigger players in the harvesting of geoducks.
“It is one setback after another. I don’t know if it can get any worse,” Demee said.
“The area in question is not even open for fishing in 2015,” said James Austin, president of the B.C.-based Underwater Harvesters Association.
“We are trying to put some pressure on them to get the ban lifted. Hong Kong is a very important shipping port.”
Geoduck is considered a delicacy, especially in Asia, and is often made into sashimi at sushi restaurants.
The geoduck fishery is conducted throughout the year but not every area is open every year.
Closures can happen quickly because of PSP.
PSP toxin is caused by certain kinds of algae and it can lead to symptoms in people such as vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain and numbness similar to food poisoning.
In some extreme cases, it can cause severe illness and death.
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