Toxic shelfish in Western Bay

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The Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin warning has been extended eastwards to include Whakatane Heads following ongoing shellfish toxin monitoring.


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.


"Ongoing monitoring has shown high levels of paralytic shellfish poison present in shellfish along this coastline. People should take note of the areas that still contain high levels of paralytic shellfish poison and avoid collecting shellfish in these areas," says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller.


The health warning applies to all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, 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 as always, the gut should be removed before cooking.


Consumption of shellfish affected by the paralytic shellfish toxin can cause numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities; difficulty swallowing or breathing; dizziness; double vision; and in severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure.


These symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish. Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention.


Monitoring of toxin levels will continue along the coast and any changes will be communicated accordingly.


For all health warning updates across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts call 0800 221 555. 


Go to www.ttophs.govt.nz/health_warnings for further information.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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