A ban on shellfish gathering due to a toxin which can cause paralysis has been extended to include Whakatane Heads.

Bay of Plenty and Lakes District Medical Officer of Health Dr Neil de Wet said the ban applied to all bi-valve shellfish, including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops, catseyes and kina. Paua, crayfish and crabs could still be taken but 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," Dr de Wet said.

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


The affected area included 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 are Matakana and Motiti islands, and all other inshore islands along this coastline.