Shellfish toxin area extended

By Sam Boyer

The shellfish toxin warning in place in the Coromandel and the Western Bay of Plenty has now been extended as far east as Whakatane.

After ongoing monitoring, the paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin warning has been extended eastwards to include Whakatane Heads. Toi te Ora Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr Neil de Wet said toxin warnings were traditionally established in the summer months.

"This [the toxin] is a naturally occurring phenomenon," he said. "Typically, the warnings just run in the summer months. We can't say for how long."

The affected area now includes the entire coastline from Tairua (including Tairua Harbour), east along the Bay of Plenty coastline, including Tauranga Harbour, Maketu and Waihi estuaries, to Whakatane Heads.

Also included in the warning are Matakana and Motiti Islands, and all other inshore islands along this coastline.

The health warning applies to all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters and scallops, as well as catseyes and kina (sea urchin).

Shellfish in the affected area should not be taken or consumed. Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken but the gut should be removed before cooking. Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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