Toxic shellfish warning for Auckland's west coast


A public health warning has been extended by the Auckland Regional Public Health Service to people collecting shellfish along Auckland's western coastline.


The affected area now extends from Mohakatino (located in Taranaki) north to Maunganui Bluff (just north of Dargaville), including the Manukau and Kaipara Harbours.


Medical Officer of Health, Dr Simon Baker says, "Ongoing monitoring has shown high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poison (PSP) present in shellfish along this coastline. People should take note of the areas that contain high levels of PSP and avoid collecting shellfish in these areas."


Shellfish including kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters, cockles and scallops taken from the affected areas should not be eaten. Cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken, however the gut should be removed before cooking. It is safe to eat the flesh of fish, but not the guts of fish that feed on algae or shellfish.


Symptoms of PSP usually occur within 12 hours after eating shellfish containing the toxins and can include numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, difficulties in swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision and in severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure.


Officials warn that if you or any member of your family becomes ill after eating shellfish, contact your doctor immediately and advise Health Protection staff at your local Public Health Service.


Toxin levels in water and shellfish continue to be monitored.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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