Shellfish biotoxin alerts

Do not collect or eat shellfish from areas where shellfish biotoxin warnings have been issued.

All warnings on this page are up-to-date

Warnings are reviewed based on weekly sampling results. Information on this page is then updated, if needed.

If you have any questions, email

Public warnings about toxic shellfish

Shellfish and seawater samples are taken every week from popular shellfish gathering areas around New Zealand and are tested for the presence of toxic algae. If the shellfish are not safe to eat, then public health warnings are issued and signs are posted at affected beaches.

The information on this page relates only to the non-commercial (recreational and traditional) taking of shellfish. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

Current warnings

Bay of Plenty – North Island

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued 23 February 2017
Affected area All coastline between the Whakatane Heads and the Waioeka River mouth in Opotiki. This warning includes the Ohiwa Harbour.
Shellfish affected Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish.
Note, cooking shellfish does NOT remove the toxin.
Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.
Other information Paralytic shellfish toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels over the safe limit of 0.8mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

Map: Affected area in the Bay of Plenty

Map of Whakatane Heads and the Waioeka River mouth in Opotiki shellfish warning
Map of Whakatane Heads and the Waioeka River mouth in Opotiki shellfish collection warning

If you get sick after eating shellfish

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued:

  • phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately
  • advise your nearest public health unit
  • keep any leftover shellfish for testing.

Find out more

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