Do not eat Gippsland Lakes shellfish

People should not eat shellfish from the Gippsland Lakes until further advice is issued.

A WARNING against eating shellfish from the Gippsland Lakes has been issued.

The warning, which includes mussels and any other type of shellfish collected from anywhere in the lakes system, follows ongoing poor water quality and high levels of algae.

The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the Department of Health issued the warning on Friday.

The poor water quality has been attributed to sediment and other nutrients washing into the lakes system from recent high rainfall and river flows.

Water quality can vary greatly especially during and after rainfall periods with debris and other contaminants entering the water.

Contaminants can include harmful microorganisms such as bacteria.

The dinoflagellate algal species Prorocentrum cordatum has been detected at various locations across Lake Victoria and Lake King.

The Gippsland Lakes contain many different types of algae at varying levels as part of the natural environment and balance of the lakes system.

The health effects of algae can vary depending on the type of algae and the type of exposure.

Some algae produce harmful toxins that can accumulate in seafood.

The levels and types of algae can fluctuate in the lakes system and harmful toxins may still be present in some seafood such as shellfish, even after a harmful algal bloom has disappeared.

Signs are in place across the Gippsland Lakes advising not to eat locally-caught shellfish.

Updated advice is expected following further testing.

People can keep informed by phoning the DELWP Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or by visiting www.water.vic.gov.au.