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 firstname.lastname@example.org
- 20 September 2018: North Island West Coast warning removed.
|Reason for alert||Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)|
|Date the warning was issued||
The entire Bay of Islands, from Cape Brett north to Cape Wiwiki
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.
Shellfish gathered within the last 5 days could also cause illness so should not be consumed.
PSP toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels of concern. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.
Members of the public with queries about shellfish safety may call Whangarei Hospital, phone 09 430 4100 and request the on-call Health Protection Officer.
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.
Find out more
- Food safety for seafood gatherers booklet [PDF, 681 KB]
- Causes and symptoms of toxic shellfish poisoning
- Toxic algal blooms
- Collecting shellfish and keeping them safe [PDF, 1.4 MB]
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