Warning after algal toxins found in loch near Bute

Shellfish harvesting in a loch near Bute has been suspended after raised levels of algal toxins were found in the water.

Argyll and Bute Council’s environmental health team has identified raised levels of the naturally occuring toxins following monitoring work in Loch Striven, to the north of Rothesay Bay.

The authority is warning that eating shellfish such as cockles, mussels, oysters or razor fish from the area may pose a health risk, and warning notices for the public and casual gatherers have been posted at various locations on the shore.

Commercial shellfish harvesters in the area have been contacted by the council, with steps taken to postpone harvesting until algae levels subside.

In a statement, the council advised: “As a sensible precaution, people should avoid eating shellfish from this area until further notice.

“Monitoring work continues and, when levels subside, the warning notices will be removed.”

Raised levels of the natural toxins are a common occurrence in lochs around the Argyll and Bute area, although this is the first occasion for some time that Loch Striven has been found to be affected.