Tasmanian shellfish industry will have to wait another week before threat from toxic algal bloom passes

Oyster growers on Tasmania’s east coast will have to wait another week to resume harvesting to after two producers were forced to stop production last week.

The threat from a toxic algal bloom is… dissipating but authorities insist the farms that have stopped production remain closed for at least another week as a “precautionary measure”.

High levels of paralytic shellfish toxins were detected at Norfolk Bay off the Tasman Peninsula and Great Oyster Bay near Swansea.

Howell Williams from the Environmental Health Department said the department had detected a bloom of “Alexandrium” algae, which is also responsible for red tides, last week.

“It’s an algae that’s caused us problems in the past but we’ve had regular monitoring in place now for quite some time so we detected the early signs of the bloom,” he said.

This type of algal bloom forced a worldwide recall of east coast mussels two years ago, costing the state $23 million.

But Mr Williams said he did not think the state’s shellfish industry faced that sort of threat this time.

“Subsequent monitoring there and in other parts of the east coast show that the bloom is actually dispersing, toxin levels are reducing and there’s been no further affects on the agriculture industries or other related industries,” he said.

Industry backs cautious stance

Neil Stump from the Seafood Industry Council said it is better to be safe than sorry.

“Oh definitely, as I said before, industry fully supports that philosophy,” he said.

Although there are two farms closed in Great Oyster Bay at the moment… there will be some cash flow issues but that’s a far better situation than having product in the market that may cause some sickness.”

The crisis comes in the midst of recreational scallop fishing season and the public are advised not to eat any shellfish from the area.

View original article at: Tasmanian shellfish industry will have to wait another week before threat from toxic algal bloom passes

Leave a Reply