Environment Canada calls for shellfish closure

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There are reports that shellfish harvesters on Canada‘s East coast have been asked to stop digging for now.

Environment Canada has issued a shellfish closure in Nova Scotia and parts of Prince Edward Island, following the remnants of Tropical Storm Leslie. The storm slammed into nearby Newfoundland earlier this week, stirring up bacterial and viral contamination in neighbouring regions. This has caused officials to determine that the shellfish harnessed from these areas are unsafe to eat.

But despite the warning, CTV reports that restaurants and customers don’t seem too concerned.

“They got to a harvest before the rain and with shrimp and scallops you can source them pretty much anywhere,” executive chef Florentino de Aguiar told the news outlet. “All our seafood is safe, I guarantee it’s 100 per cent.”

Gordon Stewart, a member of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, told CTV its customers may not see a change right away: “We’re going to see a shortage, there’s going to be created demand. We’re going to see a price increase whether they pass that on or not.”

Meanwhile, the tourists don’t seem to mind either. Afterall, they’ve travelled all the way to Canada’s East Coast for some of the finest seafood in the world.

The seafood industry is a cornerstone of the province’s economy. Trade Team Nova Scotia says the export value of Nova Scotia fish and seafood is close to $1 billion, with products exported to almost 90 countries worldwide.

Nova Scotia alone produces one quarter of Canada’s seafood, the largest proportion of any Canadian province.

Shellfish such as lobster, scallop and snowcrab now account for almost 50% of the total catch. Other important species include haddock, herring, and pollock.

Environment Canada says it will check the water in the region over the next several days. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will reportedly do the same.

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Madison is a journalist/media consultant currently working in Toronto.