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High levels of toxin found in James River crabs

Monday - 8/12/2013, 11:58am  ET

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A study of harmful algae in the James River has found high levels of a toxin in blue crabs.

The three-year study is being conducted by researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and elsewhere.

VCU river ecologist Paul Bukaveckas tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch ( ) that researchers discovered high levels of a toxin called microcystin in blue crabs in the tidal freshwater James in August 2012. He says toxin also has been found in crabs this summer but not at high levels.

Rebecca LePrell with the Virginia Department of Health says there's no reason to believe the toxin levels are a health risk.

VCU fish ecologist Greg Garman says there's little or no commercial crab harvesting in the freshwater study area.


Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch,

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