Warning on shellfish as bloom hits record levels

Date: 1/2/2001

Health authorities in Northland have issued an urgent warning against eating shellfish after new sea water samples revealed record toxic algal bloom levels.

Northland Health is urging people not to take shellfish from areas around the North Island where warnings are in place. Eating the flesh was likely to lead to potentially fatal paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP). Symptoms include numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness, double vision and paralysis.

Warnings cover a zone around the North Island extending south from Mahia Peninsula, northern Hawkes Bay, to Cook Strait, and then up the West Coast to Cape Reinga in Northland.

The only region within the zone not totally included is the inner part of the Kaipara Harbour, where shellfish, apart from green mussels and tuatua, can be taken east of Pouto and South Head.

Paua, crabs and crayfish can be taken from the danger areas but the gut should be removed before they are cooked.

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