From Keith Shaw.
YOUR report regarding the heavy metals present in Jersey’s shellfish (JEP, 19 November) is sad news for everyone who enjoys shellfish, but is this news really a surprise to the Harbour authorities or the fishermen?
The report was not entirely accurate, as Italy has not banned Jersey crab imports, it has simply banned the import of crabs from anywhere in the world, if they cannot comply with their country’s current quality standards. In their area of the world they have had to deal with pollution for many years and have decided to set their own standards, just like other EU countries do in other food matters when they feel like it.
As far as I am aware, Italy, as with any EU country, does not have to adhere to the EU minimum standards if they believe, as in this case, that they are not high enough for them. Perhaps we need to find out why our shellfish have got any heavy metal in them at all, and take steps to remove it.
Could the increase in heavy metals being found in our shell fish food chain be linked to the recent development on the reclamation sites (west of the Albert Pier), adjacent to the vivier and nourice shellfish storage areas in the St Helier Harbour entrance.
The fishermen deserve our sympathy and support in their aim to bring Jersey’s standards up to and in excess of the Italian ones. I cannot see that the Italian government will be interested in listening to the please of Economic Development, Home Affairs or Environment to lower their standards.
This will be an issue that the Environment department, seawater protection officers and Harbour managers would have been closely monitoring for very many years, and they will have an opinion on what might be causing the problem and if it affects all local shell fish caught and stored in different parts of the Island.