Shellfish biotoxin alerts

Do not collect or eat shellfish from areas where shellfish biotoxin warnings have been issued.

All warnings are up to date

Warnings are reviewed weekly following sampling results. Information on this page is then updated, if needed.

If you have any questions, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Current warnings

North Island

South Island

Public warnings about toxic shellfish

Shellfish and seawater samples are taken every week from popular shellfish gathering areas around New Zealand and are tested for the presence of toxic algae. If the shellfish are not safe to eat, then public health warnings are issued and signs are posted at affected beaches.

If you get sick after eating shellfish

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
  • advise your nearest public health unit
  • keep any leftover shellfish for testing.

Commercially harvested shellfish

The information on this page relates only to the non-commercial (recreational and traditional) taking of shellfish. 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. If commercial shellfish growing areas are affected by shellfish toxins, the areas are closed for harvesting, and the shellfish do not enter the food chain – in New Zealand or in overseas.

North Island warnings

Bay of Islands

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued

Wednesday, 08 August 2018

Affected area

The Bay of Islands extending to the outer heads between Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett.  

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.

Other information

Paralytic shellfish toxins have been detected in shellfish 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 Bay of Islands
The Bay of Islands extending to the outer heads between Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett.

West Coast

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Affected area

From the mouth of Port Waikato southward to Te Horo Beach in the Wellington region.  The alert also includes Aotea and Kawhia Harbours.

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.

Other information

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

North Island West coast 
From the mouth of Port Waikato southward to Te Horo Beach in the Wellington region. The alert also includes Aotea and Kawhia Harbours.

South Island warnings

Akaroa Harbour

Reason for alert

Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP)

Date warning issued

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Affected area Akaroa Harbour
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.
Other information Diarrhetic shellfish toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels above the safe limit of 0.16mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be notified.

Map of affected area in the Akaroa Harbour

Map of Akaroa Harbour
Map of Akaroa Harbour – the affected area.

Find out more

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