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Warning: Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish, Kaipara Harbour

19th November 2012

Public Health Warning:
Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish, Kaipara Harbour

Northland District Health Board Health Protection Unit advises the public NOT to collect or eat shellfish from the Kaipara Harbour and the coastline north to Maunganui Bluff. Shellfish at the Kaipara Harbour entrance have shown the presence of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins above the regulatory level.

Areas to the south of the Kaipara Harbour also currently show toxin levels above regulatory levels, and further monitoring may extend the warning area northwards.

Shellfish including kina, mussels, pipis, tuatua, toheroa, oysters, cockles and scallops in the affected areas should not be eaten.

“Anyone eating these toxic shellfish is potentially at risk of illness” said Dr Clair Mills, Medical Officer of Health. “Cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.”

Symptoms of PSP usually occur within 12 hours after eating shellfish containing the toxins:

• Numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities.

• Difficulties in swallowing or breathing.

• Dizziness, double vision.

• In severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure.

If anybody experiences these symptoms after eating shellfish, the first action is to call 111 to get medical help.
Northland DHB Public Health Unit will continue to monitor the situation and advise of any changes.


Further information is available by visiting the following website:
Food Smart website: http://www.foodsmart.govt.nz/food-safety/hunting-collecting-fishing/seafood-gatherers/

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