Southampton Port Health Authority covers all of Southampton Water. Within this area there are many shellfish beds which are commercially harvested. Southampton Port Health Authority is responsible for sampling the shellfish.
Shellfish sampling in Southampton
Shellfish samples are collected monthly from Southampton Water shellfish beds for classification purposes and bio-toxin monitoring.
Live bivalve molluscs (LBM) include:
- Oysters (Pacific and native)
Bivalve molluscs are filter feeders. Whilst feeding they can ingest toxins, chemical or bacteriological contaminants from their environment which can accumulate in their flesh. This accumulation of toxins does not harm the mollusc but can cause serious problems to humans. Samples are taken to monitor these levels.
Approved official control laboratories carry out the specified testing and analysis of the samples. When sample results indicate that levels of contaminants are found to be above the maximum permitted levels notifications are sent and action is taken.