Toxin levels drop but catching shellfish is still banned

THE level of toxins in the sea in shellfish and mollusk fishing grounds along the coast has fallen.

Since last year, the fishing areas from La Cala de Mijas to Torrox have been closed several times due to this ‘red sea’.

It is caused by toxins released by a type of seaweed named Gymnodinium, and is something which occurs fairly frequently although the extent of the problem varies.

In the past year, fishing for clams, baby clams, scallops, anemones, sea snails and other mollusks, along 170 kilometres of the Malaga coast was banned several times after the alarm was raised by fishermen from La Caleta de Velez.

The Junta de Andalucia considered it normal and did not call a ‘red alert’.

The head of the fishermen’s group in La Caleta de Velez, Jose Luis Guerrero, said last summer that the 52 shellfish fishermen wanted controls to be more constant and strict, and for an alert to be declared when necessary so they can request subsidies.

As the situation stands, as there had not been a complete closure, they will get no grants.

This year, since the end of April, they have been unable to fish due to toxins, but now levels have been seen to drop although fishing grounds remain closed.

The toxins can cause neurological and nervous system problems in humans, as well as other more serious side-effects, so fishing is strictly banned.

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