- Associated Press - Friday, February 14, 2014

SEATTLE (AP) - U.S. officials have asked China to limit its shellfish ban to two localized areas rather than a wider swath of the U.S. West Coast.

A NOAA Fisheries’ official, Timothy Hansen, sent a letter dated Monday asking Chinese authorities to consider reducing its shellfish ban to one harvest area near Seattle and another in southeast Alaska.

China imposed a ban in December on the import of clams, oysters, mussels and scallops harvested from Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California, after it found high levels of arsenic in geoducks from Puget Sound. It also found paralytic shellfish poisoning in geoducks harvested in Alaska.

Hansen noted that high levels of inorganic arsenic and PSP have not been found in other areas of the larger region.

He welcomed a proposal by the Chinese to send its expert team to the U.S. to examine the industry and evaluate regulatory oversight.