13 July 2021: Following the detection of significant levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in shellfish samples from the Castlemaine production area in the South West of Ireland, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, in conjunction with, the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority, the Health Service Executive and the Marine Institute, is warning people not to collect or take shellfish from this area at this time. Food businesses and the public are reminded to buy oysters, mussels and other shellfish from reputable suppliers only.
PSP is caused by a naturally occurring toxin associated with certain algal blooms in Irish coastal waters. The levels of the toxin associated with PSP can increase rapidly in shellfish, where they feed on these algal blooms. These toxins do not harm the shellfish but at sufficiently high levels, PSP can be fatal in humans, when contaminated shellfish are eaten. The production area is now closed and is being monitored by the Sea-Fisheries Protection Authority and the Marine Institute. The results from this monitoring will be published in the Marine Institute's Harmful Algal Bloom Shellfish Monitoring Programme.