The Food Standards Agency Scotland announced today that a ban on fishing for Ensis and Queen scallops in waters off Orkney due to a build-up of naturally occurring Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins is to be partially lifted.

The action is based on test results from the Government's sampling programme that showed that the PSP toxin has dropped to a level at which there is no longer a risk to consumers.

A scallop fishing ban was imposed on the South Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands on 14 June 2000. Part of this ban has been lifted today. King Scallops are not affected by today's action.

Re-sampling continues to be carried out in other areas closed to scallop fishing. As soon as levels of PSP/ASP falls to safe levels the areas will be reopened.

NOTES FOR NEWS EDITORS
  1. Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) is caused by naturally occurring algal blooms which can extend over considerable areas.


  2. The Food Protection (Emergency Prohibitions) (Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning) (Orkney) (Scotland) Order 2000 was made on 14 June 2000.


  3. Re-sampling of closed areas is carried out and two separate samples showing safe levels are required, with at least a week between each, before an area can be reopened.

For further information, media should contact Louise Bisset , Media & Communications Office, on 01224 285127.