Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Otago Public Reminded About Toxic Algal Blooms

MEDIA RELEASE

December 21, 2012

Otago Public Reminded About Toxic Algal Blooms

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) and Public Health South are reminding the public to keep their distance from some popular swimming locations in Otago because of potentially toxic algal blooms. The two organisations have reiterated their earlier warning of December 6 for people not to come in contact with the water in these places.

ORC director of environmental information and science John Threlfall said it has been confirmed that Lake Waihola south of Dunedin, the upper Tomahawk lagoon, and the lower Taieri River near Henley, contain the potentially toxic blue-green algae Anabaena lemmermannii. However, it could be present in other areas as well.

This algae, which is dark green, can produce a series of toxins which are then passed to the water and can be fatal to dogs and cause illness in people. The degree of toxicity is impossible to predict, but a test carried out on a sample from Lake Waihola showed that no toxins were present at that time at that point.

Southern District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Dr Marion Poore said people swimming in water with increased levels of algal bloom have been known to develop allergic reactions: asthma, eye irritations, rashes, blistering around the mouth and nose, and gastro-intestinal disorders, including abdominal pain, cramps, and diarrhoea.

People should not swim in areas affected by the algae, and other water users, including fishermen and boat users, should exercise caution, Dr Poore said.

Any reaction depends on the type of toxins present, and the concentration of the toxin in the water. The higher the concentration of toxins and the longer the contact with the water, the more severe the symptoms are likely to be. It is difficult to know whether toxins are present at any one time or location, therefore a precautionary approach is strongly recommended.

Dogs are particularly susceptible to poisoning from both mat-forming and free-floating toxic algae as they enjoy being in the water and can consume these algae intentionally or by accident. Livestock are also at risk from poisoning from cytotoxins and should be provided with alternative drinking water.

Symptoms of poisoning in animals exposed to the type of toxins present in anabaena mats include lethargy, muscle tremors, fast breathing, twitching, paralysis, convulsions. In extreme cases, death can occur within 30 minutes after signs first appear.

“In the case of illness or suspected illness after swallowing water containing algal bloom, seek advice from your doctor. If your animals become sick, contact your veterinarian immediately," Dr Poore said.

ORC has put out warning signs at the locations where the algae has been found, but not all sites will be known.

Dr Poore says her office has received a number of calls from the public concerned about the safety of eating fish caught in these waters.

“Unfortunately, there is very little information about the potential toxic effects of eating fish caught from waters with a cyanobacteria bloom,” she said.

Some algae toxins have been found to accumulate in fish tissues, especially in the internal organs such as the liver and kidneys. Toxin accumulation studies suggest that the muscle (fillet) tissue is less affected by algae toxins.

Dr Poore said people choosing to eat fish caught from waters affected by a blue-green algae bloom should use gloves when removing the fat, skin, and organs before cooking, and be careful not to cut into the organs.

Before cooking or freezing the fish, the fillets should be rinsed with clean water to remove any contaminants from the cleaning process.

It is also important to wash all equipment in clean water afterwards.

“As a precaution, we advise against eating any freshwater shellfish such as kakahi or freshwater mussels,” Dr Poore said.

“For those people who eat a lot of fish taken from cyanobacteria bloom-affected waters there is a potential risk of accumulation of toxins in their system. Limiting the number of fish meals to two per week will help avoid this situation,” she said.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf Issue #49: Gordon Campbell Interviews Laila Harre

For 25 years, Labour and National have been in virtual agreement about the basics of economic policy, and differed mainly on how to go about managing its social consequences.

Such is the power of the economic orthodoxy that when opposition parties arise – say, in the shape of the Greens – their “credibility” is measured by the extent to which they give the appearance of learning and abiding by the ruling consensus.

The tension between the desire for change – and the inability of the current political framework to deliver it – creates openings for populists of all stripes. It is what has made the emergence of Internet Mana so interesting. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Electorate Deals

For all the talk yesterday from Prime Minister John Key about National being transparent about its electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu, that transparency is entirely front-loaded. More>>

ALSO:

Greens: Oil Drilling Face-Off With Labour

The key policy points in the Green Party’s plan to protect our beaches from oil spills are to:
1. Prohibit deep sea oil drilling; 2. Implement compulsory shipping lanes for coastal shipping; 3. Build Maritime New Zealand’s oil spill response capability; and 4. Introduce a stronger legal framework so that when accidents do happen, the New Zealand taxpayer does not have to pay for the clean-up. More>>

ALSO:


Nick Smith v Fish & Game:

Minister Told Of FBI Investigation, Says INZ: Coleman Must Quit Or Be Sacked Over Dotcom Case - Harré

Immigration New Zealand has done the right thing in distancing itself from Jonathan Coleman’s claims that ministers were not aware of FBI involvement in Kim Dotcom’s residency application, says the Internet Party. More>>

ALSO:

Valedictory Season: Maori Party Founders Say Goodbye

Two major Maori MPs gave there farewell speeches to Parliament Thursday outlining their history, experiences, triumphs and regrets. More>>

ALSO:

Resignation Not Accepted: Transport Minister Breaches Aviation Security Rules

"Running late for a plane at Christchurch Airport, I without thought breached airport and airline security rules by entering the gate lounge through a door usually used for exit only..." More>>

ALSO:

TAIC Report: Urgent Recommendations After Melling Rail Accident

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission has made four urgent recommendations to KiwiRail following the accident two months ago (27 May) when a Matangi passenger train collided with a stop block at Melling Station, Lower Hutt. More>>

ALSO:

Red Tape: Local Regulations Go Under Microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Spending Questions: Claudette Hauiti To Step Aside At Election

National Party President Peter Goodfellow confirms that he has received notification from List MP Claudette Hauiti that she plans to step aside at the 20 September election. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news