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E.coli and biotoxin forecasting

01 December 2017
Drs Jamie Shutler and Wiebke Schmidt, ShellEye scientists from the University of Exeter, provide an update on the development of the E.coli and biotoxin model forecasts.

Microbiological events, such as occurrences of E.coli and biotoxins, can have a costly impact upon shellfish farms and ShellEye's biotoxin model has been developed to help forecast these times of increased microbiological and biotoxin risk.

The ShellEye team from the University of Exeter have continued to evaluate the E.coli and biotoxin short-term forecast methods for Cornish shellfish waters, using monitoring data from the UK Food Standards Agency and the Environment Agency. The aim is to provide target shellfish farmers with these short-term forecasts for use within their stock management procedures, with a test period scheduled for mid-2018. These methods and the forecast performance are currently being externally reviewed by academic experts.

The team is also expanding its model range to include two new sites in Scotland and Wales, both of which cultivate mussels. To develop the forecasting methods for these sites, 4 years of monitoring data from Food Standards Scotland and the UK Food Standards Agency were collated, along with river level monitoring data from the Environment Agency and weather forecasts from the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting. The methods and performance of these new E.coli models are being assessed and will also be tested with target shellfish farmers in mid-2018.