FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 511
Bivalve depuration:fundamental andpractical aspects
by Ronald Lee, Alessandro Lovatelli and Lahsen Ababouch
World bivalve production and consumption has increased significantly in recent years, from a combined total for wild catch and aquaculture of approximately 10.7 million tonnes in 1999 to 14 million tonnes in 2006. Furthermore, the development of freight by air and sea and preservation techniques have enabled consumers, in different parts of the world, to enjoy eating bivalves produced in distant waters. Such developments in distribution and trade have in turn led to emerging challenges for consumer protection, particularly in relation to the safety of bivalves from pathogenic micro-organisms. Several species of bivalves are often consumed live or raw (e.g. oysters), or lightly cooked (e.g. mussels) which make them a high risk food product category requiring proper control measures to eliminate or reduce to acceptable levels potential biological, chemical and physical hazards. This document is intended to provide a basic introduction to the public health problems that can be associated with shellfish consumption and to provide guidance to the bivalve industry as to how a depuration centre, and the associated systems, should be planned, constructed and operated. It is mainly targeted at new operators or those with limited experience, as well as fishery and public health officers who deal with the bivalve industry. This is of particular importance for several developing countries, where the bivalve industry is expanding quickly with the aim of winning an ever larger share of the bivalve international market.