Shellfish biotoxin alerts

Do not collect or eat shellfish from areas where shellfish biotoxin warnings have been issued. All warnings on this page are current.

Public warnings about toxic shellfish

Shellfish and seawater samples are taken every week from popular shellfish gathering areas around New Zealand and are tested for the presence of toxic algae. If the shellfish are not safe to eat, then public health warnings are issued and signs are posted at affected beaches.

The information on this page relates only to the non-commercial (recreational and traditional) taking of shellfish. Commercially harvested shellfish – sold in shops and supermarkets, or exported – is subject to strict water and flesh monitoring programmes by MPI to ensure they are safe to eat.

North Island warnings

No warnings are in place for the North Island 

South Island warnings

There is one warning in place for the South Island:

  • Canterbury region - Motunau Beach to Akaroa Head

Motunau Beach to Akaroa Head

Reason for alert Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP)
Date warning issued 13 October 2016
Affected area

Between Motunau Beach and Akaroa Head

Shellfish affected

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish.

Note: cooking shellfish does not remove the toxin.

Pāua, crab and crayfish may still be eaten if the gut has been completely removed prior to cooking, as toxins accumulate in the gut. If the gut is not removed its contents could contaminate the meat during the cooking process.

Other information DSP toxins have been detected in shellfish at levels over the safe limit of 0.16mg/kg set by MPI. Ongoing testing will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.
Map: The affected area in the Canterbury region
Shellfish biotoxin warning - Canterbury region
Map showing the area covered by the shellfish biotoxin alert.

If you get sick after eating shellfish

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued:

  • phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16, or seek medical attention immediately
  • advise your nearest public health unit
  • keep any leftover shellfish for testing.

Find out more

Last reviewed: | Has this been useful? Give us your feedback
Document cart