News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


Duck Hunters reminded of toxic algae in Canterbury lakes

May 2, 2014

Duck Hunters reminded of toxic algae in Lake Ellesmere and Lake Rotorua

Hunters are being reminded to avoid contact with two Canterbury lakes this duck shooting season because of toxic algae (Cyanobacteria).

This year’s duck shooting season officially opens tomorrow, Saturday, May 3.

The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board is warning people the toxic algal bloom, for Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere near Christchurch and Lake Rotorua near Kaikoura, remains in place as duck shooting season approaches.

Dr Ramon Pink, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says the lakes are still in bloom with concentrations of blue-green algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) above the levels considered to be safe for recreational activities.

“People should avoid contact with these lakes until the health warnings have been lifted, as there is increased probability of respiratory, irritation and allergy symptoms from exposure to the high density of the cyanobacterial material present,” Dr Pink says.

Algae are particularly harmful to dogs and hunters are recommended not to let their pets come into contact or drink water from the lakes, he says.

“No one should drink the water from the lake at any time. Boiling the water does not remove the toxin.”

Dr Pink says hunters should also wash their hands thoroughly if they come into contact with the lake water or when handling ducks from the lake.

“Ducks from the lake are fine to cook and eat if their gut has been removed.”

Environment Canterbury continues to monitor the lake and will inform Community and Public Health when it no longer contains algae concentrations harmful to public health.

Facts about cyanobacteria:
• The algae occur naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months
• If the water is cloudy, discoloured, or has small globules suspended in it, avoid all contact
• Not all cyanobacterial blooms are visible and toxins can persist after the blooms disappear
• Cyanobacterial concentrations can change quickly with changing environmental conditions (e.g. wind). If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the water.

For further information visit

Or contact Community and Public Health on (03) 364 1777.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: Smelling the Merchandise - The Death of Stalin

Having satirised British democracy with such devastating effect, Armando Iannucci has now turned his lens on the dangers inherent in Soviet authoritarianism. Every gag is girdled with fear and the bleak humour is so pitch black it could only have been pumped from deep underground. More>>

Howard Davis Review: The Creole Stylings of Cécile McLorin Salvant

"You only get a singer like this once in a generation or two," commented Wynton Marsalis, who has repeatedly hired her to front his jazz orchestra and mounted a 25 foot high portrait of her on the exterior of Lincoln Center. “She radiates authority. She has poise, elegance, soul, humour, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth, and grace.” More>>

Max Rashbrooke Review: The King's Singers and Voices New Zealand

To be good at one thing is impressive; to be so versatile across a range of genres is truly exceptional. The latest incarnation of this six-strong male singing group includes Kiwi Christopher Bruerton, and it was a delight to hear him sing the solo on the achingly beautiful My Love Is like a Red, Red Rose. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland