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On-Island Shellfish Testing Welcome

3 May 2017

Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens' Primary Industries spokesperson 

The Greens welcome the government’s investment in on-island shellfish testing.  We raised our serious concerns about this industry, and potential public health, issue late last year.

Interstate testing delays meant shellfish were being shipped and served before health notifications were received.  Some growers said their oysters were already on plates before they even knew there's a problem.

The industry would be greatly relieved the government listened to their calls for on-island shellfish testing facilities.  Last year saw dozens of oyster farms closed because of the paralytic shellfish toxin, on top being crippled by POMS.

Paralytic shellfish toxin is released during periods of high or intense rainfall.  In a time of accelerating climate change it’s reasonable to expect these testing services will be needed more and more.

Tasmania’s shellfish industries face many threats with ocean acidification and warming waters bringing new diseases, on top of the constant threat of environmental degradation and overfishing.  Any government action that can help the shellfish industry adapt to the changing climate and maintain their competitive edge is welcome.

On island testing is one small measure which will save time and protect the public, the purchasers of the product and the producers themselves.