The project has two consecutive blocks of activities; the first of these was to conduct sanitary surveys of selected harvesting areas with a view to identifying sources of microbial pollution.
Sanitary surveys have been completed in all participating countries indicating the sources of microbial pollution in the selected harvesting areas. Data from the sanitary surveys and initial sampling have been used to develop extensive monitoring programmes in the harvesting areas. Viral and microbial indicator levels in shellfish are being monitored. At the same time extensive data on environmental conditions and population health are being gathered. Initial results indicate viral contamination in classified shellfisheries can occur and that the conditions responsible for contamination may be diverse and complex including salinity, rainfall, site-specific hydrography and catchment riverflows. Monitoring will continue through the high risk winter period into the summer of 2006.