Shellfish ban lifted

By Cassandra Mason

The warnings had been in place since August 2012. Photo / Thinkstock
The warnings had been in place since August 2012. Photo / Thinkstock

Public health warnings against eating poisonous shellfish in Kaipara Harbour and parts of the west coast have been lifted today.

The area where shellfish - previously found to be contaminated with Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) - are now safe to collect and eat stretches from the mouth of the Mokau River north to Maunganui Bluff and includes Kawhia, Raglan and Manukau Harbours.

Testing on shellfish in Kaipara Harbour also showed a reduction in toxin levels, prompting the Northland District Health Board to lift the warning there also.

The warnings have been in place since August 2012, when high levels of paralytic shellfish poison were found in shellfish along a significant stretch of coastline and the Kaipara Harbour.

People were warned not to eat any kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters, cockles and scallops.

Paua, crab and crayfish could be eaten if the gut had been completely removed before cooking.

The first symptom of PSP poisoning is numbness in and around the mouth within 20 to 60 minutes of eating affected shellfish.

This numbness spreads to the face and neck and may be followed by difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision and - in severe cases - paralysis and respiratory failure.

- NZ Herald

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