Sydney residents are being warned not to eat seafood collected or caught in the Broken Bay area due to an outbreak of toxic algal blooms, with fears it could lead to paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).
Mussels and oysters should not eat as well as crab and lobster guts if caught by recreational fishermen in the area, according to the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).
However, the department says the seafood available in shops and restaurants is “safe to eat because the NSW Food Authority monitors the safety of commercially harvested seafood”.
Assistant Director General of Biosecurity and Food Safety John Tracey said the current affected area includes the waters of Broken Bay upstream to Cowan Creek, the coastal area between Little Beach (Bouddi) and Bangalley Headland and Pittwater.
Paralytic shellfish toxins are produced by certain species of toxic algae and shellfish such as oysters, mussels, scallops, cockles and clams should not be taken or consumed from this area,” said Dr Tracey.
“With Christmas just around the corner, it is important for communities in the Broken Bay area to take extra precautions when collecting and consuming seafood. Cooking the product does not eliminate the risks posed by this toxin.
“Recreational fishers are advised not to consume shellfish, including bivalves (mussels and oysters) or hepatopancreas (guts) from crabs and lobsters (the white meat is safe to eat) caught in the Broken Bay area.”
Symptoms of PSP include numbness and tingling/pins and needles around the mouth, face and extremities, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness and headache.
In the most severe cases, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, paralysis, respiratory failure and, in severe cases, death can be seen.
Dr Tracey said symptoms usually appear 10 minutes to three hours after eating.
“Anyone who experiences these symptoms after eating shellfish from or near the affected area should seek immediate medical attention,” Dr Tracey said.
“Paralytic shellfish poisoning is rare, but it’s important that people follow these tips to avoid getting sick.”
Originally posted as Seafood warning days since Christmas for Broken Bay