Wash poison warning for pet owners along South Holland coast

Julian Gregory, chief executive officer, Eastern IFCA. Photo by Paul Marsh.
  • Paralytic shellfish poisoning incidents

Dog owners walking their pets along beaches near Gedney Drove End, Gedney Dawsmere and Holbeach St Matthew have been warned not to let them eat dead fish.

The warning comes from the Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Eastern IFCA) after two dogs, one in Norfolk and one in Suffolk, died after eating a crab and fish respectively on The Wash Shore recently.

It is important that we take a measured and joined-up approach in working to find out what the extent of PSP contamination may be

Julian Gregory, chief executive officer of Eastern IFCA

Tests on both marine animalms found high levels of PSP (Paralytic Shellfish Poison), a naturally-occurring toxic substances with a biological origin.

Julian Gregory, chief executive officer of Eastern IFCA, said: “It is important that we take a measured and joined-up approach in working to find out what the extent of PSP contamination may be.

“At this point, there is nothing to indicate that species sold for human consumption such as brown crabs or lobster are affected.

“But as a precautionary measure, we are sampling a range of marine animals to ensure that any ongoing PSP contamination is identified.”

It is thought the contaminated animals were washed up during winter storms and are likely to have now been washed back into the sea.

The Wash beach is fully open for business but dog owners are advised to take simple precautions such as keeping pets under close control or on a lead and preventing them from eating marine life washed up on the shore.

Dr Andrew Turner, of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), said: “There is no risk to people or animals from the seawater and the only risk is from PSP-contaminated animals found on the beach.

“So precautions should be followed to ensure that pets and people do not eat anything they find on the beach.”

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