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Problems associated with shellfish farming

Author(s): Chinabut S, Somsiri T, Limsuwan C, Lewis S

Abstract

Shellfish culture is a major sector of aquaculture production worldwide, and zoonoses and drug residues associated with shellfish farm practice are of concern to public health. This paper focuses on three of the most important shellfish species: molluscs, crabs and shrimp. Although many diseases can affect shellfish, they do not appear to be transmittable to humans. Rather, the main hazards are associated with the methods used to farm the different species. The risk to human health from shellfish most commonly relates to contamination by biotoxins produced by marine algae. Another well-recognised problem associated with shellfish culture is the contamination of shellfish with domestic sewage that contains human pathogenic bacteria and viruses, which causes diseases such as typhoid fever and hepatitis. In shrimp farming, the main potential food safety hazards are zoonoses, chemical contamination and veterinary drug residues. Untreated effluent from shrimp farms is a major concern to the environmental sector as it is known to promote plankton blooms if directly discharged into natural water sources.

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