NEW ZEALAND: West coast algal bloom spells disaster for east coast mussel producers
As a potentially fatal algal bloom continues to spread along the Tory Channel, on the west coast of New Zealand, the producers of mussels are anxious in the face of decimated sales.Joe Cuccurullo, director of Wellington based wholesaler Mediterranean Foods, revealed that there was no demand for mussels left on the market and that consumers were getting it wrong: "Some people don't seem to realise that the mussels they get from a restaurant or supermarket are safe." Indeed, mussels are actually harvested on the Coromandel east coast, which is as yet unaffected by the poisonous algal bloom.Paul Lupi, spokesman for the Mussel Industry Council, has also announced that mussel farms are most likely to remain unaffected. The latest tests for the bloom have shown that its movement has broken up in the recent 20-40 knot norwest winds. While it cannot yet be confirmed, it seems that the algal spread may be abating. In the Tory Channel, algal cell counts per litre of water now only numbered between 40 and 80, a good sign for farmers who have struggled since a previous high of 52000 was recorded.While it is not certain if the algal is gone or set to reappear, it definitely appears to be struggling to survive, and has not moved east from Wellington Harbour.
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