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Reminder About Closure Zones For Shellfish

Reminder About Closure Zones For Shellfish Collection

PEOPLE considering offering shellfish on the Christmas and New Year menu and collecting their own supply, should check with their Public Health Service that the coastal area is open and the shellfish are safe for consumption.

High levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison have been detected in many areas around the North Island coastline in recent months, and as a precaution a number of areas have been closed for shellfish collection.

As at 21 December the boundaries of the closed area extend from Cape Reinga (Northland) down the west coast of the North Island to Baring Head near Wellington (including Wellington Harbour), continuing along the Palliser Bay coast, round Cape Palliser and up the east coast of the North Island to Portland Island off the Mahia Peninsula.

Ministry of Health Food Manager Jim Sim said the closure zones are subject to change at short notice, and the public should contact their local health protection officers at Hospital and Health Services if they are in doubt.

"The closures are put in place as a precaution as the levels of PSP in closure zones have reached unacceptable levels. The areas are regularly monitored, but in the meantime people should not consume bi-valve shellfish taken from these areas.

"This includes mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops and kina taken from these waters. With paua, crabs and crayfish, the gut should be removed prior to cooking.

Symptoms of Paralytic Poison (PSP) occur within 24 hours of consuming shellfish. They include numbness or tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, headache and dizziness, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision, paralysis, or in severe cases, death.

Anyone who becomes ill after consuming shellfish should contact their doctor and advise health protection staff at your local public health services.

END


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