This paper reports the results of investigations of shellfish toxin contamination of products obtained from Shanghai seafood markets. From May to October 2003, 66 samples were collected from several major seafood markets. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP) toxins in shellfish samples were monitored primarily by a mouse bioassay, then analysed by HPLC for the chemical contents of the toxins. According to the mouse bioassay, eight samples were detected to be contaminated by PSP toxins and seven samples were contaminated by DSP toxins. Subsequent HPLC analysis indicated that the concentrations of the PSP toxins ranged from 0.2 to 1.9 microg/100 g tissues and the main components were gonyautoxins 2/3 (GTX2/3). As for DSP, okadaic acid was detected in three samples, and its concentration ranged from 3.2 to 17.5 microg/100 g tissues. Beside okadaic acid, its analogues, dinophysistoxins (DTX1), were found in one sample. According to the results, gastropod (Neverita didyma) and scallop (Argopecten irradians) were more likely contaminated with PSP and DSP toxins, and most of the contaminated samples were collected from Tongchuan and Fuxi markets. In addition, the contaminated samples were always found in May, June and July. Therefore, consumers should be cautious about eating the potential toxic shellfish during this specific period.