Lakes health warning

RECREATIONAL fishers are still being advised not to eat mussels, oysters and pipis collected from the Gippsland Lakes.

This advice does not include prawns and fish caught in the lakes.

Incident controller for the current Pseudo-Nitzschia algal bloom, Anthony Costigan, said the bloom is made up of species which are potential producers of a toxin called domoic acid.

“The production of toxins by algal blooms can vary over time throughout the bloom’s life cycle, and there is still potential for domoic acid to accumulate in bivalve shellfish like mussels,” Mr Costigan said.

“The shellfish tested so far have shown very low levels of domoic acid, well below food safety limits, but with the algae cell counts in the water being above trigger levels, we are erring on the side of caution.

“We will continue with weekly testing of mussels while the algae is still present in the water at high levels. Routine testing of all algae species in the Gippsland Lakes continues to be done regularly.”

He said this species of algae did not affect people or animals on contact so it was safe to swim, ski, surf, paddle and play in the lakes.