Collectively, this is known as a sanitary survey. Each survey includes a systematic desk-based review of all available data, and an in-depth site survey of the harvesting area, to identify potential sources of pollution and points for routine sampling.
For areas covered by a sanitary survey, a Provisional Representative Monitoring Point (PRMP) desk study assessment can be undertaken to determine a sampling plan and PRMP(s) in liaison with the Local Authority (LA).
EC Regulation 854/2004, Annex II (Chapter II paragraph 6) states 'If the competent authority decides in principle to classify a production or relay area it must:
(a) make an inventory of the sources of pollution of human or animal origin likely to be a source of contamination for the production area
(b) examine the quantities of organic pollutants which are released during the different periods of the year, according to the seasonal variations of both human and animal populations in the catchment area, rainfall readings, waste-water treatment, etc
(c) determine the characteristics of the circulation of pollutants by virtue of current patterns, bathymetry and the tidal cycle in the production area
(d) establish a sampling programme of bivalve molluscs in the production area which is based on the examination of established data, and with a number of samples, a geographical distribution of the sampling points and a sampling frequency which must ensure that the results of the analysis are as representative as possible for the area considered.'