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31 October 2008

Algal bloom in Hardy Inlet and Blackwood River region

The Department of Health is advising people not to eat wild shellfish after tests confirmed the presence of potentially toxic algae within the upper Hardy Inlet and lower Blackwood River areas including Molloy Island.

The algae was detected at elevated levels at a number of routine sampling locations throughout the estuary.

Director of Environmental Health Jim Dodds said shellfish such as mussels, oysters and scallops could accumulate in the algae while filter feeding and become contaminated.

“We are advising people not to eat wild shellfish collected from these areas as they could cause diarrhoea or vomiting,” he said.

“Normal cooking processes will not destroy the toxins produced by the algae.

“Recreational activities including swimming, fishing and boating can continue as normal.

“As a general rule the Department of Health does not support the collection of wild shellfish in uncontrolled areas, as the safety of these shellfish cannot be guaranteed.”

Mr Dodds said commercially available shellfish from supermarkets in Western Australia was not affected.

“Commercial seafood is managed by a strict quality assurance program which ensures shellfish available in the market place is safe for human consumption,” he said.

The Department of Water will continue to monitor algae in this area.

Media contact: (08) 9222 4333

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