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|
Between Motunau Beach and Akaroa Head
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
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
- Food Safety for Seafood Gatherers booklet [PDF, 654 KB]
- Causes and symptoms of toxic shellfish poisoning
- Toxic algal blooms
- Collecting Shellfish and Keeping Them Safe [PDF, 1.4 MB]