Shellfish biotoxin alerts

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

All warnings 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 info@mpi.govt.nz

Current warnings

North Island
South Island

North Island warnings

Bay of Islands

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued 15 May 2018
Affected area The Bay of Islands extending to the outer heads between Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett.  
Shellfish affected

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, cat's eyes, 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 of affected area in Bay of Islands

Map of Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett shellfish warning.
Map of Cape Wiwiki to Cape Brett shellfish warning.

Hawke's Bay

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued

9 May 2018

Extended 18 May 2018

Affected area From Māhanga Beach in Māhia, extending to the southern end of Porangahau Beach.
Shellfish affected

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, cat's eyes, 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 of affected area in Hawke's Bay

Map of Māhanga Beach in Māhia, extending to the southern end of Porangahau Beach shellfish warning
Map of Māhanga Beach in Māhia, extending to the southern end of Porangahau Beach shellfish warning

South Island warnings

Marlborough Sounds

Reason for alert

Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP)

Date warning issued

11 May 2018

Affected area

The warning includes the Kenepuru Sound and inner Pelorus Sound, extending outward to Tawero Point and Opani-aputa Point.

Shellfish affected

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, cat's eyes, 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 of affected area in the Marlborough Sounds

Map of the Marlborough Sounds, South Island
Map of the Marlborough Sounds, South Island

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.

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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