The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) today issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested in the Port Underwood region from the East side of The Tongue only (The area inside a line from the tip of Separation Point on the Tongue to The Knobbies on the eastern side of the bay).
Routine tests on shellfish samples taken from Port Underwood has shown levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by MPI. Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness.
Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.
Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.
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 within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours. Symptoms may include:
- Abdominal cramps
If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately. You are 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.
Find out more
- Shellfish biotoxin alerts
- Subscribe to shellfish biotoxins to receive email alerts
- See signage in the affected area
- Collecting Shellfish and Keeping Them Safe [PDF, 1.4 MB]
- Causes and symptoms of toxic shellfish poisoning
- About toxic algal blooms
- Food Safety for Seafood Gatherers booklet [PDF, 688 KB]