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  • Fera’s emergency response helps re-open the Wash
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Fera’s emergency response helps re-open the Wash

When fisheries in the Wash were closed following a major chemical release into the river Nene from an industrial site, Fera’s emergency response process was formally activated.  The laboratory conducted a rapid-response 24-hour analysis for the released insecticide to determine its levels in shellfish samples taken from the contaminated area. 

The analysis was conducted at short notice on behalf of The Food Standards Agency (FSA) Incident team, working together with Environmental Health Department at King’s Lynn.  Fera made arrangements for samples to be taken and delivered to site, and analysed them using rapid analysis techniques for what is usually a 5-day method. Speed was of paramount importance both to safeguard public health and to allow shellfish harvesting in the Wash to recommence.  Every fishing day lost represented an estimated £150,000 income lost for these businesses, according to a fisheries spokesperson.     

Fishing in the Wash re-opened following Fera’s confirmation that the shellfish tested negative for the released insecticide.   

Fera continues to be on call for such incidents.  If the laboratory can help you, please contact Paul Robb paul.robb@fera.gsi.gov.uk