TASMANIA was affected by a $23 million loss after last year's toxic algae bloom outbreak, with marine experts warning of more losses for the shellfish industry.
The toxic Alexandrium algae that is potentially fatal to humans is expected to remain in the water for years.
It will bring big challenges and changes for the shellfish industry, with increased monitoring and possible impacts such as removing the roe from scallops and exporting rock lobsters as just tails.
An independent report by SafeFish, announced by the state government three days before the federal election, found that the bloom caused about $23 million loss to the national commercial fishing industry, with an $8.6million direct impact on seafood producers.
Inadequate procedures and policies in the old Tasmanian biotoxin management plan has led to national regulatory reform, in the interests of public health.
University of Tasmania Institute for Marine and Antarctic professor Gustaaf Hallegraeff said the bloom issue was bigger than first expected.
"Something changed around last year, or the year before, that made [the algae] very successful," Professor Hallegraeff said.
"It will now end up in the bottom sediment and will germinate from that, so we certainly expect that we will have to deal with this problem for years to come."
Professor Hallegraeff said mussels were most prone to accumulating the toxins, oysters were more selective, with the majority of toxins in scallops found in the roe and in the gut of rock lobsters.
He said rock lobster tests were being undertaken in Adelaide, while more efficient water testing kits were being developed with assistance from Ireland.
Tasmanian Seafood Industry Council chief executive Neil Stump said the industry would implement more stringent water and meat testing regimes.
"Shellfish industries worldwide are used to responding to these events and the Tasmanian industry has to adapt and work around the blooms," Mr Stump said.
This season the Tasmanian scallop industry responded by fishing away from the affected areas, to fish scallop beds near Stanley for the first time in seven years.
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