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Public health warning about toxic shellfish

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Public health warning about toxic shellfish

Biotoxin alert

Public Notice
Description: Do not collect or eat shellfish from areas where shellfish biotoxin warnings have been issued
Closing Date: 25 September 2020 at 5:00pm

The Ministry for Primary Industries has extended the public health warning for collecting shellfish in the Hawke’s Bay / Gisborne region.

For Gisborne the warning now extends to Young Nicks Head.

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) 
Check the symptoms of PSP(external link)(external link)

Date warning issued

2 July 2020, extended 19 August 2020

Affected area

From the southern end of Porangahau Beach to Young Nicks Head

Shellfish affected

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish.

Note, cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from this region have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.8 mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be updated on MPI website

Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.

See a map of the warning area(external link)

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued, phone Healthline for advice on 0800 611 116, or seek medical attention immediately. You're also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested. 

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

Map of affected area

Affected area