Pipis may contain toxins due to algal bloom
COMMERCIAL fishing for pipis and other shellfish at South Ballina Beach has been closed because of an algal bloom off the coast.
Recent sampling has shown high levels of potentially toxic species of algae and the presence of Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxin.
The Department of Primary Industries is also reminding recreational fishers that it is still illegal to take pipis from beaches to eat, or to remove them more than 50m from the high tide mark.
The long-standing closure was in place because pipis may contain toxins due to the natural algal blooms.
Algal blooms can occur anywhere along the coast and are normally the result of the upwelling of nutrient rich deep ocean water onto the continental shelf, and can often be seen after rainfall events in estuaries and in river mouths.
The toxins can make people very ill and cooking does not destroy the toxins.
Pipis should not be taken by individuals for human consumption and should be used for bait only.
The NSW Food Authority advises that all shellfish purchased through commercial seafood outlets are not affected, because shellfish producers have now stopped harvesting in the affected area.
It is recommended only eating shellfish harvested under a recognised commercial program.