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More Bays Face Oyster Bans

SOUTH AUSTRALIA - Local oyster producers have been working with Primary Industries and Resources South Australia this month to collect oyster samples from Franklin Harbour, on the Eyre Peninsula, for testing.

Franklin Harbour was closed for oyster harvesting over the summer period due to high levels of the 'mystery toxin' pinnatoxin in local shellfish.

While the local bay remains closed, reports in the Eyre Penisula Tribune say that the ban has little practical effect on the industry. Oyster farmers are currently concentrating on maintenance and shellfish growth.

However, pinnatoxin levels in other Eyre Peninsula sites have prompted a similar series of closures in Denial Bay, St Peter's Bay and Smoky Bay. Further test results are expected this week.

Cowell industry representatives have now organised the collection and processing of large numbers of oysters so the pinnatoxin can be extracted and purified in New Zealand. A PIRSA spokesman said the amount of toxin in each shellfish is very small and around 2500 dozen shellfish were needed so that enough material could be processed for toxin extraction.

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Ellen Hardy

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