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 questions, email info@mpi.govt.nz

Current warnings

Previous changes
  • 27 September: West Coast (Taranaki/Waikato) warning removed.
  • 19 September: Hawkes Bay region warning removed.
  • 10 September: Marlborough Sounds warning removed.

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.

South Island warnings

Port Underwood

Reason for alert

Diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP)

Date warning issued

25 October 2019

Affected area

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).

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

Symptoms typically appear within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours and may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps

Find out more

Notes 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 communicated accordingly.

Map of affected area

Map of the Port Underwood area, highlighting in red the areas affected.
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).

Find out more

Last reviewed: