Health warning extended to Gore Bay

The Community and Public Health division of Canterbury District Health Board has issued another health warning advising the public not to collect or consume shellfish harvested in coastal Canterbury areas.

Affected area AkaroaToMotunau

Map: The affected area in the Canterbury region

The warning follows the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) extending the area of a previous health warning northwards from Motunau Beach, following further testing. The area now covers from Akaroa Head up to Gore Bay.

Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury Medical Officer of Health, says routine tests on shellfish samples taken from the region have shown levels of Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins above the safe limit of 0.16 mg/kg set by MPI.

“Anyone eating shellfish from this area is potentially at risk of illness,” Dr Humphrey says.

“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.”

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.
Symptoms typically appear within half an hour of ingestion and last for about 24 hours. Symptoms may include:

• Diarrhoea
• Vomiting
• Nausea
• Abdominal cramps

Dr Humphrey says if anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from an area where a public health warning has been issued phone their own General Practice Team for advice, or seek medical attention immediately.

“You are also advised to contact your nearest public health unit and keep any leftover shellfish in case it can be tested.”

Monitoring of toxin levels will continue and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

For more information

• Community and Public Health – 03 364 1777
• Shellfish biotoxin alert webpage