Food Law News - UK - 2000

FSA Scotland Press Release, 17 August 2000

Scallop Fishing Ban on West Coast

A ban on fishing for scallops in waters off parts of the West Coast of Scotland, due to a build-up of naturally occurring Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) toxins, was announced today by the Food Standards Agency Scotland. The ban covers South Minch, North Minch, Sound of Jura, waters off Islay and West of the Mull of Kintyre. The ban is based on test results from the Government's sampling programme which showed that the ASP toxin has exceeded the statutory maximum permissible limit set down by the European Union. Once toxins exceed this limit it is considered that there is a serious health risk to consumers if they eat Scallops. Symptoms of ASP include vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pains, confusion, memory loss, seizure and coma.

Scallops is the only species affected by this ban. No other commercially marketed shellfish are affected by today's action.

Dr George Paterson, Director of the Food Standards Agency Scotland, said:
"We recognise the consequences this ban will have on the scallop fishing industry and we sympathise with all those who will be affected by it. However, the public's safety must always come first and unfortunately, as the limits have been exceeded, we must ban the fishing of scallops until they are safe for human consumption."

Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) is caused by naturally occurring algal blooms which can extend over considerable areas. Under the Order signed today, the Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning) (West Coast) (Scotland) Order 2000 (No. 2), the taking of scallops from the specified area is prohibited from today.

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