05/11/2001

Ban lifted on king scallop fishing in Irish Sea

The Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland has lifted the ban on fishing for King scallops in the Irish Sea.

Following routine testing for the presence of biotoxins in shellfish in the Irish Sea, the ban was lifted following two consecutive negative tests.

The ban was introduced on October 3 to protect public health following the detection of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins caused by a naturally occurring poisonous algae.

When present in affected shellfish that are eaten, the DSP toxins can cause diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and chills.

Northern Ireland waters are routinely monitored for the presence of a range of biotoxins in shellfish. The samples are analysed by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development's Veterinary Science Laboratory.

Under Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety legislation, the Food Standards Agency (Northern Ireland) advises on the suitability of conditions and the presence of toxins. Any bans imposed are lifted following two consecutive negative tests. (SP)

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