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Cockle and mussel gathering banned after tests reveal high beacteria levels

PUBLISHED: 12:29 29 February 2020 | UPDATED: 12:29 29 February 2020

Shellfish gathering has been banned at the mouth of the River Nene because of concerns over high bacteria levels  Picture: Matthew Usher.

Shellfish gathering has been banned at the mouth of the River Nene because of concerns over high bacteria levels Picture: Matthew Usher.

© Archant Norfolk 2012

Environmental health officials have banned the commercial collection of shellfish from the mouth of one of the region’s major rivers.

Fenland District Council has temporarily prohibited the commercial harvesting of shellfish near the mouth of the River Nene on the Norfolk - Lincolnshire border after raised levels of bacteria were found.

Routine sampling by the council revealed levels of naturally occurring bacteria in the shellfish had increased, likely to have been caused by recent high rainfall.

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Fenland has now issued a temporary closure notice of shellfish beds near the mouth of the Nene, prohibiting the commercial harvesting of shellfish until bacterial levels return to normal.

Samantha Hoy, the council's portfolio holder for envionmental helth, said: "The council's environmental health team undertakes routine sampling of shellfish which are commercially harvested to ensure the quality of shellfish remains high.

"The prohibition is purely a precautionary measure as all cockles and mussels commercially harvested from the mouth of the River Nene are purified or heat treated prior to being sold for human consumption. Further sampling is being carried out and the ban will be removed once bacterial levels return to normal."

Whilst the temporary ban only applies to the commercial collection of shellfish by food business operators, the council is strongly advising members of the public not to collect and consume shellfish from the mouth of the River Nene.


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