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Your Borough Of Poole

Shellfish Classification

Background information

  1. EC Regulations 853/2004 and 854/2004 set out criteria relating to the commercial production and sale of live bivalve molluscs (clams, cockles, oysters, mussels etc) from classified production areas. These Regulations are law in the UK and are implemented by means of the The Food Safety and Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013
  2. Data for shellfish waters in England and Wales is compiled by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Weymouth (CEFAS), using the results of monthly bacteriological sampling carried out by Local Authorities. Production areas are then classified, by the Food Standards Agency, according to the E. coli levels in the shellfish sampled from the harvesting areas
  3. The classification determines the areas where shellfish can be collected from and how the shellfish have to be treated, after harvesting, to ensure that they are safe to eat

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Classification categories

  • A class - bivalve molluscs can be harvested for direct human consumption
  • B class - bivalve molluscs can be marketed for human consumption after purification in an approved plant or after relaying in an approved class A relaying area or after being subjected to an EC approved heat treatment process
  • C class - bivalve molluscs can be marketed for human consumption only after relaying for at least two months in an approved relaying area followed, where necessary, by treatment in a purification centre, or after an EC approved heat treatment process
  • Prohibited areas - bivalve molluscs must not be subject to production or be collected
  • Unclassified areas - bivalve molluscs must not be subject to production or be collected

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Current Classifications – Poole Harbour

 1st September 2017 to 31st August 2018

Most areas of Poole Harbour are classified as ‘B’.

  1. Wareham Channel has a seasonal upgrade from Class ‘C’ to Class ‘B’. The upgrade to Class ‘B ‘will continue until 28th February 2018, provided the on-going classification samples remain satisfactory. After 28th February 2018 the area will return to Class ‘C’, until July 2018 dependant on sample results. The boundary between ‘B’ classification (Rockley) and’B’/‘C’ classification (Wareham Channel) is a ‘line’ drawn between the points: 50°43´.01N 02°03´.62W & 50°42´.17N 02°02´.62W. This ‘line’ passes at an angle roughly along the western edge of Seagull Island
  2. North Haven (Whitley Lake)

    The area around North Haven Pontoon is no longer classified as a bivalve harvesting area. This unclassified area runs from the Pier on the south east of Brownsea to the slipway on the B3369, including the area around North Haven pontoon. The rest of the area in Whitley lake remains a Class “B”.

There are several unclassified and prohibited areas. Bivalve molluscs (clams, cockles, oysters, mussels etc) must not be harvested (gathered) from these areas because of potential public health risks:

  • Lytchett Bay (prohibited area due to bacteriological contamination)

  • Holes Bay (unclassified due to concerns about chemical contamination)

  • Other unclassified areas e.g. the area west of a “line” drawn down from Keysworth Point (no monitoring sampling is undertaken)

  • Poole Bay is no longer classified for bivalve shellfish of any species

Further details, including maps showing the areas of classification for each species, are available on request from Environmental Services.

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Further information

Further information can also be obtained from the:

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Related pages

Contact us


01202 261700

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18001 01202 261700

Environmental Services
Unit 1
Newfields Business Park
2 Stinsford Road
BH17 0NF