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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Classification of shellfish growing and harvest areas

 

The classification of a shellfish growing area is managed by the WA Department of Health under one of the following classifications:

  • Approved Remote
  • Approved
  • Conditionally Approved
  • Restricted
  • Conditionally Restricted
  • Nursery/Source, or
  • Prohibited.

The classification process involves compiling a Sanitary Survey Report and Marine Biotoxin Management Plan for the Department of Health’s consideration and approval.

More information is available in the guidance document and in the WASQAP manual (available on request from the Dept of Health WA), Marine Biotoxin Management Plan and ASQAP manual.

An overview of the steps involved in obtaining area classification to harvest shellfish for human consumption is set out below:

  1. Assess the area where the operator is growing or intends to grow or harvest shellfish for human consumption. As part of this assessment, identify and evaluate contamination sources which could adversely affect the water quality of the shellfish harvest area.
  2. If, in undertaking the assessment described at 1 above no actual or potential pollution sources are identified, the aquaculture or commercial fishery operator will need to undertake a minimum of 15 water samples and, or, 15 shellfish samples from each of the sites determined appropriate as a result of initial investigations. These samples need to be collected under a range of environmental conditions.
  3. If, in undertaking the assessment described at 1 above actual or potential pollution sources are identified, the aquaculture or commercial fishery operator will need to undertake a minimum of 30 water samples and, or, 30 shellfish samples from each of the sites determined appropriate as a result of initial investigations. These samples need to be collected under a range of environmental conditions.
  4. Bacteriological, chemical and biotoxin water and, or, flesh testing of the samples conducted as part of steps 2 or 3 above will need to be undertaken by the aquaculture operator, commercial fishery operator or food business to inform area classification. The samples will then need to be analysed by a laboratory accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities Australia (NATA).
  5. Following the investigative work involved in the sanitary survey and the associated sampling, the aquaculture operator, commercial fishery operator or food business must compile a Sanitary Survey Report and Marine Biotoxin Management Plan for the Department of Health to consider and to classify the growing area.

Once approved, the aquaculture operator, commercial fishery operator or food business must maintain this approval through regular testing, monitoring and reporting. The frequency of testing will vary depending on the results of initial surveys as well as marine biotoxin risk analysis.

 

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Last modified: 28/10/2019 8:18 AM

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