Health Department issues warning about shellfish caught at Mindarie Marina

Health Department issues warning about shellfish caught at Mindarie Marina

THE Health Department has warned people not to eat fish, crabs or shellfish collected from Mindarie Marina in case it causes muscular paralysis.

Recent testing confirmed potentially toxic microscopic algae at elevated levels.

WA Health environmental health director Jim Dodds said the detected microscopic algae Alexandrium spp. could produce paralytic shellfish poisoning in people who ate the affected seafood.

“These algae, which are not visible to the naked eye, can produce a very potent neurotoxin which could be absorbed by filter feeding shellfish and, to a lesser extent, potentially consumed by crabs and fish,” he said.

“Normal cooking processes will not destroy these toxins.

“In the worst case scenario, people who consume the affected shellfish, crabs or fish, can suffer muscular paralysis.”

Other symptoms include tingling or numbness of the lips, a prickliness sensation around the fingertips and toes, nausea or vomiting, impaired balance, dizziness, slurred speech, double vision, weakness, difficulty in swallowing or breathing, loss of fluids and diarrhoea.

“Anyone who has consumed shellfish, crabs or fish collected from the marina and experiences any of these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention, particularly if they feel any respiratory distress,” Mr Dodds said.

“Do not discard uneaten portions of mussels or other shellfish.”

The department advised people to avoid eating wild shellfish, including oysters, clams, pipis, scallops, cockles and razor clams, collected recreationally.

Mr Dodds said farmed shellfish purchased in supermarkets and other commercial outlets in WA were not affected as there was a strict quality-assurance program to ensure they are safe for human consumption.

“Other recreational activities including swimming and boating are not affected by this species of microscopic algae,” he said.

Not all waterways are always monitored for algal blooms and anyone who sees or suspects an algal bloom in a waterway, can call the Department of Water and Environmental Regulations on 6250 8064 or to the local government authority for assessment.

The Mindarie Marina and City of Wanneroo will continue to monitor algae levels and provide advice to the Health Department.

Visit healthywa.wa.gov.au/Articles/U_Z/Wild-shellfish-collection for more.