Fisheries issues warning on poisonous mussels

WALVIS BAY – The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has warned the public about harvesting and eating poisonous mussels from the Walvis Bay Aquaculture Production Area 1.   

A media statement issued by Permanent Secretary Moses Maurihungirire on Tuesday said routine sampling and testing by the Namibian Standards Institution has revealed high levels of Diarrheic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) on mussels.

As such the area is closed for harvest until the ministry announces it is safe to harvest and eat mussels from there again.

“The mussels are not fit for human consumption, hence no farmer or grower is permitted to harvest mussels from this area,” said Maurihungirire.

The PS said in the meantime, scientists will continue to take samples to keep a close check on the biotoxin levels and inform them when it is safe to harvest again.

Diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting could occur 30 minutes after eating mussels with high levels of DSP. No deaths were recorded from eating mussels with DSP.

The biotoxins are caused by the harmful blooming of algae that are consumed by the shellfish.

Shellfish filter the water they are immersed in to collect algae and when the water contains too much of the harmful algae, the shellfish are poisoned with too much of the biotoxins produced by the  algae.

The blooming of the algae is amongst many factors affected by the temperature and light intensity of the ocean water, which either promotes or delays the algae production, making the shellfish more or less fit for human consumption. – Nampa

July 2017
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