Stay away from PD’s toxic mussels for now, says Fisheries Department

PORT DICKSON, April 4: The lab results of the Kuala Lumpur Fisheries Biosecurity Centre found that harmful algae in mussels around Port Dickson waters have caused them to be unsafe for consumption.

Department of Fisheries (DOF) deputy director-general (Management), Wan Aznan Abdullah said water samples and mussels in the waters were contaminated with biotoxins as well as harmful Prorocentrum, Alexandrium and Pseudonitzschia algae species.

“The hot weather is also one of the causes of this algae multiplying quickly in the waters, but the algae does not affect other marine life such as fish, shrimps or crabs.

“We advise the public not to eat these mussels within the next 20 days. After this festive season, we will take more samples to be tested, before we can confirm that the mussels here are safe to eat,” he told a press conference here today, which was also attended by the Negeri Sembilan Fisheries Department director Kasim Tawe.

He said the department will continue to monitor the situation with regular testing in accordance with established procedures until the cell density in the water decreased and biotoxins in mussels were no longer detected.

According to him, DOF was cooperating with the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) to ensure that there was no harvesting and sale of shellfish in the district.

“There are 40 registered mussel operators here in Pasir Panjang, including unregistered ones. The existing mussels in the waters do not have to be disposed of, They will neutralise by themselves except mussels that have been harvested and taken to markets must be destroyed,” he said.

He said water samples were also taken in the waters off Melaka and Johor and they were found to be safe and with no proliferation of the algae.

In the meantime, Wan Aznan said one poisoning victim was still receiving treatment in the intensive care unit (ICU) at Port Dickson Hospital.

Earlier, Negeri Sembilan DOF was reported to have taken samples of mussels and water in the waters of Port Dickson following an alleged case of food poisoning due to the seafood.

The Negeri Sembilan Health Department also said that there were eight cases of food poisoning related to the consumption of mussels with two cases admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), regular wards (five) and outpatient (one).