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Tas scallops join mussel ban

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HOBART, Nov 15 AAP

November 15 2012, 11:29AM

Scallops from the east coast of Tasmania have joined the area's mussels in being banned following a toxic algal bloom.

A scallop fishery in the White Rock area has been closed after the same paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) found in Spring Bay Seafood's mussels was detected in samples taken on November 2.

"PST levels in tested scallops are currently either close to or slightly over the permitted level, but it's possible the level will increase before it goes back down again," a health department warning said.

The affected shellfish don't look or taste different and the toxin is not destroyed by cooking or freezing, but there have been no reports of illness.

The fishery, which doesn't include Tasmania's Bass Strait scallop zone, will be closed for 90 days or until it is given the all-clear.

Local media reported it affects the operators of about 10 boats and six processors.

The warning comes less than a fortnight after mussels from the area were recalled following the naturally occurring algal bloom.

The recall included two new pre-packed mussel products sold under the Coles brand.

It also comes in the same week an alert warned the abalone industry was monitoring its harvest areas after a bloom earlier this year.

Abalone bought from shops has been declared safe for eating.

By David Beniuk