SHELLFISH harvesting on a Lewis loch has been halted after Food Standards Agency inspectors found potentially harmful levels of toxic algae.
The ban on Loch Leurbost comes after tests showed eating shellfish such as cockles,mussels or razor fish may pose a risk to human health.
Notices to warn the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.
Commercial shellfish harvesters have been contacted by the comhairle and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.
A council spokesperson said:‘It is a sensible precaution to avoid eating shellfish from these areas until further notice.
‘The council is monitoring the situation and will remove warning notices when it improves.’
A warning has also been issued for locations in the Kilbrannan Sound after Argyll and Bute Council carried out monitoring work which revealed raised levels of naturally occurring algal toxins in Campbeltown Loch,Kildalloig Bay,Carradale Bay,Saddell Bay and Machrie Bay,Pirnmill.
These areas were closed on July 3 and signs posted to warn gatherers and members of the public of the danger.
Commercial shellfish harvesters in these areas have also been contacted by the council and steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.
Eating shellfish such as cockles,mussels or razor fish from these areas may cause food poisoning. The algal toxins do not affect the taste of the shellfish and are not destroyed by freezing or cooking.
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