Shellfish Quality

Shellfish Market Access Program (​ShellMAP)

The Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (TSQAP) has now become part of the Shellfish Market Access Program (ShellMAP) and has been renamed ShellMAP Regulatory Services. The team is located in Biosecurity Tasmania’s offices in St Johns Avenue, New Town.

ShellMAP operates under a Partnership Agreement between the Tasmanian Government, Oysters Tasmania and the Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council (TSIC). The program has three components: Regulatory Services, Industry Development and Operational Services.

The ShellMAP Management Committee is a collaborative and consultative forum between the Tasmanian Government and shellfish industry that is broadly responsible for managing ShellMAP. The nine-member committee is led by independent chair Mr Ian Cartwright and has three grower representatives, as well as representatives from Oysters Tasmania, TSIC, and the Tasmanian Government.

ShellMAP provides Regulatory Services that are consistent with the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program to ensure that Tasmanian shellfish may be enjoyed safely in Tasmania and around the world.

ShellMAP Regulatory Services deliver a risk management approach underpinned by science that is essential for the safe consumption of farmed bivalve shellfish. This component of the program is fully funded by the Tasmanian Government, and operates out of Biosecurity Tasmania.

The Industry Development component of ShellMAP ensures that innovation and best practice is fostered and implemented, so that the industry retains its competitive edge in the world’s market.

The Operational Services component mainly supports the shellfish industry through coordination and delivery of samples and testing. The testing programs include biotoxin and chemical testing, which assist growers and regulators to ensure safe farming and harvest conditions for their product.

The program manager coordinates all three components of ShellMAP.

Shellfish quality in Tasmania

Bivalve shellfish such as oysters, mussels, clams and scallops are viewed as seafood delicacies. However the consumption of shellfish may pose a public health risk if harvested under certain circumstances or when they are eaten raw or only lightly cooked.

Tasmania has adopted an internationally accepted program for the reduction of food safety risks of shellfish consumption. This program has been successfully carried out by Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (TSQAP) since the mid-1980s, allowing Tasmanian shellfish to enjoy an enviable food safety record. ShellMAP Regulatory Services will continue with this work.

ShellMAP focuses on commercial oyster, mussel and clam growing areas and maintains a list of the current harvest status of every commercial growing area. Whilst recreational harvest areas are not included on this list, the Director of Public Health issues advisories to recreational harvesters, including specific advisories when information indicates that defined areas may pose a public health risk.

In carrying out its role, the ShellMAP implements the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (ASQAP). The basis of this program is to improve the safety of bivalve shellfish, by monitoring harvest waters for the presence of biological or chemical hazards and using comprehensive risk management systems to reduce the risk of food-borne illness.

The implementation of the ASQAP requires each growing area to have

  • A comprehensive sanitary survey which includes classification and management plan development,
  • An ongoing bacteriological monitoring program,
  • A continuous environmental monitoring program to ensure that harvesting only takes place within management plan criteria,
  • A biotoxin monitoring program and management plan (PDF),
  • A chemical residue testing program,
  • An annual review of both the recent data collected and the current management plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which growing areas are open?

The latest Classification Notice provides information regarding openings and closures for all growing areas in Tasmania. The Classification Notice is updated as changes to growing area status are made.

For growers, if you are not receiving text messages and emails regarding your growing area's status, please contact the program.

If your growing area is closed, your Harvest Area Management Plan provides details about re-opening.

How can I find out if rainfall or river levels are getting close to the trigger levels for a growing area?

Firstly, each Harvest Area Management Plan provides specific management triggers in the Appendix section.

Growers can access the Bureau of Meteorology website for local rainfall data, including seven day rainfall totals, and DPIPWE’s Water Information Tasmania web portal for near-time river flow data. These resources enable growers to monitor environmental conditions, manage risk and maintain required records.

When will biotoxin test results be available?

If samples for an area were submitted by 10:00am on Monday, final results will be provided via SMS and email by 5:00pm on Wednesday.

If samples for an area were submitted by 10:00am on Wednesday, final results will be provided via SMS and email by 5:00pm on Friday.

My biotoxin results haven’t arrived on time. Who should I speak to?

Firstly, check that your growing area's samples were provided to Analytical Services Tasmania (AST) on time.

If you still need to contact AST, the contact person is
Tim Jordan – biotoxin@ast.tas.gov.au

I’m waiting on results from water / meat samples from the Public Health Laboratories. Who should I speak to?

Contact ShellMAP Regulatory Services using the contact details provided below.

Contacts

For all other questions or matters related to the Tasmanian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (TSQAP) or the Shellfish Market Access Program (ShellMAP), the following contact details apply:

ShellMAP

John Harkin
Program Manager - Shellfish Market Access Program
Biosecurity Tasmania
Phone: 03 6165 3085, 0429 401 994
Email: John.Harkin@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Megan Burgoyne
Scientific Officer - Shellfish Market Access Program
Biosecurity Tasmania
13 St Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Phone: 03 6165 3771
Email: tsqap@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Adam Mills
Scientific Officer - Shellfish Market Access Program
Biosecurity Tasmania
13 St Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Phone: 03 6165 3771
Email: tsqap@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Biotoxin and other laboratory issues

Tim Jordan
Section Head, Organic Chemistry
Analytical Services Tasmania
18 St Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Phone: 03 6165 3314
Email: biotoxin@ast.tas.gov.au

Food safety issues

Owen Hunt
Program Manager (Primary Produce Safety)
Biosecurity Tasmania
13 St Johns Avenue
New Town TAS 7008
Phone: 03 6165 3091, 0418 131 214
Email:  Owen.Hunt@dpipwe.tas.gov.au

Public health enquiries

For more information about the consumption of recreationally harvested shellfish see the Public Health Advisory or call the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738.


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