Shoreline Surveys at Southend-On-Sea and Swansea Bay – for the Food Standards Agency

The Brief

As part of Carcinus’ ongoing relationship with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), we have recently paid visits to Southend-On-Sea and Swansea Bay to survey the shorelines and conduct water quality sampling. Carcinus are contracted to help the FSA fulfil their obligations under retained EU law Regulation (EU) 2019/627 which specifies the health conditions and market placing of live bivalve molluscs, tunicates echinoderms and marine gastropods.

Logo of the Food Standards Agency

A shoreline survey was recently required at two locations due to unexplained deterioration in shellfish flesh hygiene results at Representative Monitoring Points (RMPs) in these areas. The Southend-On-Sea survey focused on the stretch of coast between Shoeburyness and Foulness Island, and Swansea Bay focused on the Queens Dock area and up the catchment of the River Tawe.

Our involvement

As with all Sanitary Survey Reviews (of which Shoreline Surveys form a part), the initial stages of this project involved producing a desk-based assessment of the harvesting areas. Carcinus’ team of experienced consultants analysed existing shellfish monitoring data, information for consented sewage discharges in the area, and other point sources such as fluvial inputs, waterbird hotspots, agricultural land use and marinas/harbours and boat moorings.

The data was then analysed using open-source GIS and statistical software packages, and a technical report was then issued to the FSA.

Southend-On-Sea – Thames Estuary

Southend-On-Sea intertidal foreshore

Josh and Toni covered an impressive 14 km of shoreline and coastal environments during this survey over two days and collected a number of water samples for E. coli analysis to assist. They also found a very well preserved Porpoise skull on the shoreline – a great trip all round.

Following the survey, we were able to update our recommendations on the placement of appropriate RMPs for this Shellfish Production Area, and finalise our technical report to the FSA.

Swansea Bay

Josh and Toni conducted this survey in two parts; taking water samples within the CZ itself and the near vicinity, and then surveying potential contamination inputs upstream of the CZ in the River Tawe on foot. These samples were analysed for the level of E. coli within them, and these results are currently being used in consultation with stakeholders to make recommendations for the CZ moving forward.

Josh Baker Carcinus Marine Scientist - taking water quality samples

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