Public Health Warning - Shellfish biotoxin alert for the Bay of Islands

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) yesterday issued a public health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested from the entire Bay of Islands inside a line between Cape Brett northward to Cape Wiwiki.

Click here to go to MPI website for most up to date information and map of affected area.(external link)

Mussels, oysters, tuatua, pipi, toheroa, cockles, scallops, catseyes, kina (sea urchin) and all other bivalve shellfish should not be eaten.

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.

Symptoms typically appear between 10 minutes and 3 hours after ingestion and may include:

  • numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face, and extremities (hands and feet)
  • difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • paralysis and respiratory failure and in severe cases, death.

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.

Keep any leftover shellfish for testing and contact our Health Protection Officer on-call on 09-430 4100.

Back to the news

Last modified: