Shellfish biotoxin alerts

Do not collect or eat shellfish from areas where shellfish biotoxin warnings have been issued. All warnings for New Zealand are in this section and up to date.

All warnings are up to date

We review the warnings on this page following sampling, and update it when we find toxic shellfish.

If you have questions, email

Current warnings

Hawke's bay – North Island

Previous changes
  • 12 November 2020: West Coast – Waipapakauri to Kaipara warning removed
  • 6 November 2020: West Coast – South Head to Tirua Point (south of Kawhia) warning removed
  • 2 October 2020: Hawke's Bay Warning removed

Public warnings about toxic shellfish

We test shellfish and seawater for toxic algae every week from popular shellfish gathering areas around New Zealand. If the shellfish are not safe to eat, we issue public health warnings and put up signs at affected beaches.

If you get sick after eating shellfish

If someone gets sick after eating shellfish, make sure you:

  • phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or get medical help immediately
  • advise your nearest public health unit
  • keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.

Safety of commercially sold shellfish

The warnings on this page are only for recreational shellfish that people can collect themselves. The warnings do not apply to shellfish that you can buy from shops or supermarkets, or shellfish for export.

We have strict water and flesh monitoring programmes for commercial shellfish to ensure it's safe to eat. If commercial shellfish become toxic, the shellfish cannot be harvested or sold, and the growing areas are closed.

North Island warnings

Hawke's Bay

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Check the symptoms of PSP

Date warning issued

16 June 2021

Media release

Affected area

From the Mohaka River mouth, south to Cape Kidnappers.

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.


Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure, and in severe cases, death.

Other information

Paralytic shellfish toxins have been detected in shellfish from Pania Reef at levels over the safe limit of 0.8mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Map of affected area

Map showing the affected area
Map of affected area in Hawke's Bay from the Mohaka River mouth, south to Cape Kidnappers

Find out more

Who to contact

If you have questions about the information on this page, email


Last reviewed: