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Algae Scare Unneccessary

Algae Scare Unneccessary

The algae warning to duck shooters issued earlier this week by Waikato Medical Health Officer Dell Hood needs to be qualified says Auckland/Waikato Fish & Game.

³This algae has not been proven toxic yet, and with rain and increasingly lower temperatures as autumn arrives the algae will soon be gone,² says Doug Emmett, Auckland Waikato Fish & Game manager.

Waikato Medical Health Officer, Felicity Dumble, confirms that they have not yet received the results of toxicity tests sent to Australia late last week.

Dumble says what they do currently know is that the particular algae species ­ Cylindrospermopsin raciborskii ­ can release a nasty toxin, which in Australia has been associated with gastrointestinal ill health.

³Although our knowledge of this situation is very gray. That is we don¹t have experience of this particular species in these lakes at this time of the year, or at least that we are aware of,² says Dumble.

However what she can say is that the algae - if it is toxic - will not cause vomiting and diarrhea in humans or animals, and certainly not kill animals, unless it is ingested.

Skin contact - if the algae is toxic - may cause skin irritations such as a rash or itching in some people, with those who have an underlying medical condition such as eczema the most likely to be susceptible.

³There is certainly no consistent reaction in humans or animals and, if the algae does become toxic, this toxicity can also vary from day to day and place to place.²

Waikato Public Health intends to test for toxicity at least one more time before the game bird hunting season begins on 2 May, so that it can alert the public as to whether or not the algae are actually toxic on the week of the season opening.

Fish & Game Auckland Waikato say this is more consistent with their awareness of various algae¹s previous occurrences.

³It¹s quite a normal occurrence both in NZ and overseas, usually happening each year,² says Emmett. ³And of course it does not effect the ducks so these can still be eaten.²

John Dyer, Fish & Game Auckland Waikato officer for the region, says they will be issuing advice to hunters to carry drinking water for their dogs when they hunt and to wear waterproof gear when out on these lakes.

Fish & Game Auckland/Waikato are expecting a great game bird hunting season.

"Earlier predictions of a bumper season are confirmed from hunter observations during mark-up," say Emmett and Dyer.

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