South Ayrshire Council has today closed two classified shellfish harvesting areas at North Bay, Barassie, Troon and Meikle Craigs, Prestwick to all commercial shellfish harvesting due to high levels of marine algae present in the seawater.
Marine algae sometimes produce toxins which can accumulate in the flesh of shellfish and cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in humans if consumed. Symptoms of PSP usually starts with tingling of the lips and tongue, which can begin within minutes of eating affected shellfish. This may be followed by tingling of fingers and toes, loss of control of arms and legs and even difficulty swallowing or breathing.
The levels of marine algae came to light as a result of routine sampling under Food Standards Scotland's Algal Toxins in Shellfish Monitoring Programme.
The closure will remain in place until the results of further sampling show that marine algae levels or shellfish flesh samples have reduced to a safe level and will not present a risk to human health.
Members of the public are strongly advised not to gather shellfish from Barassie Shore or
Prestwick shore for their personal consumption due to the serious potential health risk. Warning signs have been posted along the affected coastline while the closure remains in place.
The Veterinary Poisons Information Service have advised that as a precaution any dog entering the sea in affected areas should be hosed down afterwards and also not to allow dogs to consume shellfish from affected areas.
Further information on this incident is available from the South Ayrshire Council website athttp://www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk/environmentalhealth/foodsafety/harvesting-of-shellfish.aspx