Members of the public have mistaken large areas of seaweed for an oil spill at a Mount Maunganui beach.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council posted photos to their Facebook page today showing large areas of something brown in the water near Leisure Island.

Large areas of seaweed have been mistaken for an oil spill at Main Beach. Photo / Supplied
Large areas of seaweed have been mistaken for an oil spill at Main Beach. Photo / Supplied

"Our Pollution Hotline was ringing hot last night with people calling in about what they thought might have been an oil spill near Leisure Island in Mount Maunganui," the regional council post said.

"It certainly looked that way from the sky! Fortunately it was just seaweed, but we really appreciate the calls."

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Large areas of seaweed have been mistaken for an oil spill at Main Beach. Photo / Supplied
Large areas of seaweed have been mistaken for an oil spill at Main Beach. Photo / Supplied