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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries

Shellfish Quality Assurance Program

​Oysters and other bivalve molluscs are filter feeders, so have the ability to bio-accumulate bacteria, viruses, toxins, heavy metals, chemicals and other harmful substances derived from the waters in which they grow. Their consumption can lead to an increased risk of foodborne illness.

As such, an aquaculture operator or commercial fishery operator must obtain a classification for the shellfish harvest area in accordance with the WA Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (WASQAP) Operations Manual 2017 and the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Program (ASQAP) Operations Manual 2016. This classification must be undertaken prior to the commercial harvesting of bivalve molluscs for human consumption.

The key requirements for environmental and shellfish monitoring that need to be met prior to the harvest of shellfish for human consumption apply to the commercial harvesting (wild capture, marine and land based aquaculture) of all bivalve mollusc shellfish, including but not limited to, edible oysters, cockles, clams, uneviscerated scallops and mussels.

Aquaculture and commercial fishery operators (food businesses) considering bivalve molluscs for human consumption should liaise with the Department of Health as the Shellfish Control Authority in Western Australia and should allow between 9 and 18 months to achieve area classification in accordance with the WASQAP.

The Department of Health can be contacted on (08) 9388 4999, or by email at



Last modified: 19/11/2018 1:50 PM

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