Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) has been documented for two centuries and control programmes have been operated for fifty years. Although some illnesses are reported almost every year, the last known death from PSP occurred in 1981. In more recent years, amnesic shellfish poisoning, ciguatera poisoning, diarrhoetic shellfish poisoning, scombroid (histamine) poisoning and tetramine poisoning have been documented. The most frequently observed of these diseases is scombroid poisoning from improperly stored fish, but PSP and ciguatera poisoning have the most serious consequences. Vibrio infections arising from naturally-contaminated shellfish are virtually unknown, and viral illnesses from polluted harvested waters are rare. Control is achieved through monitoring of waters for indicators of human pathogens. Inspection systems based on the hazard analysis and critical control point principles are being introduced into all areas of fish and shellfish harvesting. The Inspection Directorate of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans joined the new Canadian Food Inspection Agency in 1997, which co-ordinates all Federal control measures for food in Canada.