The harvesting of bivalves is still permitted in the Ria Formosa and in the Ria de Alvor but for the first time this year a neurotoxin has been detected in these areas by scientists from the University of Stockholm working with the Portuguese Institute of Ocean and Atmosphere.
In a report by Sul Informaçao, Helena Silva from the Institute said there is no cause for alarm, yet. There is no "immediate risk to public health. If there was, the collection of bivalves would be banned immediately."
The neurotoxin discovered by the scientists is not regulated by national or European policies but the teams advise that testing continues in order to assess the risk to humans of consumption from contaminated bivalves.
There have been no reported incidents of complications associated with the neurotoxin' but, Silva points out, the Ministry of Health "is not required to report any poisoning resulting from the consumption of shellfish, though it does on many occasions.”
The toxin level has risen due to the recent high temperatures.