Project number: 2013-713
Project Status:
Budget expenditure: $417,984.00
Principal Investigator: Jayne M. Gallagher
Organisation: SARDI Food Safety and Innovation
Project start/end date: 30 Aug 2013 - 30 Aug 2015


As noted in the background section, Paralytic Shellfish Toxins pose a significant economic risk to the rock lobster industry, the Tasmanian algal bloom in 2012/2013 resulted in losses to the seafood industry in the vicinity of $20million AUD and scientific data is critically needed to assist in minimising losses in future years.

Knowledge on the how rock lobsters accumulate PSTs (e.g. trophic pathway) is crucial to underpin
future management strategies, including validating the use of species which may be more readily
gathered to indicate risk (e.g. the use of farmed or wild caught mussels). Additionally, there is limited
information on the elimination of PSTs from Jasus edwardsii. This data would assist industry in an
event where large volumes of product have been harvested and are being held in live-containment
facilities, particularly in Australia where animals can be held for several weeks in tanks. Information on
persistence in the wild will also underpin decisions on potential re-direction of fishing effort to non
contaminated areas.


1. To provide management options for industry to reduce the impacts of algal blooms. These options will potentially include: in-tank elimination conditions, testing of sentinel species to obtain early warning etc
2. To reduce technical barriers to trade for Australian rock lobsters in key markets through using the risk assessment output of the project to negotiate risk based standards.
3. To enhance R&D capability on marine biotoxins and market access in Australia.

Final report

ISBN: 978-1-921563-94-2
Authors: Thomas Madigan Jessica Tan Navreet Malhi Cath McLeod and Alison Turnbull
Final Report • 2017-03-01


This report details the results of a multifaceted a research program led by the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI). The work was undertaken to assist the rock lobster industry to understand food safety risks from a toxin naturally accumulated in the lobster hepatopancreas. The initial detection of the toxin resulted in closures of the commercial and recreational fisheries on the east coast of Tasmania in 2012. The research program comprised field sampling of lobsters and their prey organisms, experimental contamination in a biosecure facility, cooking studies, consumption assessments and a risk assessment exercise. The work was undertaken from August 2013 to February 2017.

Related research


Improving post-harvest survival of live held Southern Rock Lobster

1. Undertake an epidemiological investigation to describe the magnitude of the event and to identify potential environmental and management risk factor(s) associated with increased mortality
University of Tasmania (UTAS)