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Harvesting of shellfish

Some species of shellfish (live bivalve molluscs), such as oysters, mussels, cockles etc., are filter feeders and accumulate sewage contamination and toxins from the water around them therefore their consumption may cause illness.

To control the risk of illness, live bivalve molluscs being placed on the market for human consumption must originate from a classified production area.

Areas are classified per species according to the degree of contamination, based on monitoring of faecal contamination in the shellfish. Only shellfish from Class A waters can be placed on the market directly.

An annual list of classified areas is published by Food Standards Scotland covering the period 1st April to 31st March the following year and is divided by local authority area and provides all the current shellfish harvesting production area details.

South Ayrshire Council regularly sample our classified production area, to ensure levels of bacteria and algal toxins are safe. View a table of the latest algal toxins results. Temporary closure notices, prohibiting the harvesting of shellfish, are served where results reveal a risk to public health.

Areas currently classified within South Ayrshire are:

Production Area Species Site Name Boundaries Status
North Bay Razors Barassie (SA-337-719-16) Area bounded by lines drawn between NS 3130 3136 and NS 3130 3450 and between NS 3130 3450 and NS 3236 3450 extending to MHWS Open
A- April to December
No classification January to March
Meikle Craigs Annual Razors Meikle Craigs (SA-643-1316-16) Area Bounded by lines drawn between NS 3292 2883, NS 3401 2737, NS 3428 2631, NS 3421 2499, NS 3299 2500, NS 3224 2828 Open
B- April to December
B- January to March
Croy Bay Razors Culzean Bay (SA-681-1482-16) Area bounded by lines drawn between NS24471386, NS23591410, NS18630707, NS19160454, NS18700149, NX17649880, NX18329880, extending to MHWS Open (30-06-2015)
A- April to December
A- January to March
Girvan South Razors Razors Girvan South Razors Area bounded by lines drawn between points NX18009830, NX17009528, NX14209570, NX14539961 extending to MHWS. Open
B September - December
B January - March

Shellfish Traceability

To ensure traceability of the product, a registration document requires to accompany each batch of live shellfish during transportation from the production area to the dispatch or purification centre.

Please contact us for registration documents if you wish to gather shellfish from a classified production area within South Ayrshire.

All shellfish leaving an approved dispatch or purification centre must be labelled with an identification mark, which includes their unique approval number, before being placed on the market for human consumption.

Draft classification of shellfish harvesting areas document 2016/17

The interim Classification of Shellfish Harvesting Areas Document 2016/17 has now been published.

The deadline for making an appeal against any classification decision is 26 February 2016.

An appeal can be lodged by completing and submitting an appeal application form to FSS, with supporting information and/or data that may be relevant to the area. This can be in the form of harvesters own results (only results from UKAS accredited laboratories can be considered for the basis of appeal), any relevant environmental details relating to the area and/or details on any improvements to the area infrastructure that may affect classification results.

The Appeals Panel will meet shortly after the deadline in March to consider the appeals that have been submitted. Following this, the document will be amended to take into account the Panel’s decisions and published prior to the start of the new classification year in April.

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Last updated: 30 August 2016

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