Public Health Warning - Marine Biotoxin in Shellfish – Northland's West Coast

Northland District Health Board, Public Health Unit advises the public NOT to collect or eat shellfish from the Northland west coast area between from Lower Kina Road south of Oakura northward to the Hokianga Harbour mouth. At this stage this warning does not include the inner Hokianga Harbour area.

Shellfish collected within the area have shown levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxins, significantly above the regulatory level.  

The symptoms of paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) include:

  • numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities;
  • difficulty in swallowing or breathing;
  • dizziness;
  • double vision.

In severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure can occur within 12 hours of consuming shellfish.

“Cooking the shellfish does not remove the toxin” said Dr Jose Ortega Benito, Medical Officer of Health, Northland DHB.

“Anyone who becomes ill after eating shellfish should see a doctor or phone Healthline for advice on 0800 61 11 16. For emergencies, phone 111 for immediate medical help.”

Northland District Health Board will monitor the situation and advise of any changes.  

Members of the public with queries about shellfish safety may call:

Whangarei Hospital on 09 430 4100 and request the on-call Health Protection Officer.  

Click here for a map and updates.(external link)

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