Shellfish biotoxin alerts

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

All warnings on this page are up-to-date

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

If you have any questions, email

Current warnings

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.

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.

South Island warning

Akaroa Harbour

Reason for alert

Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP)

Date warning issued 7 July 2017 (warning still valid as of 14 September 2017)
Affected area All of 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

DSP toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels of up to .76 mg/kg which is nearly 5 times the safe limit of 0.16mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Members of the public with queries about shellfish safety may call Christchurch  Hospital, phone 03 364 0640 and request the on-call health protection officer.

Map of the affected area

Map of Akaroa harbour, South Island shellfish warning
Map of Akaroa Harbour.

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.

Find out more

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