Toxic shellfish in Auckland waters

ROBERT KIDD
Last updated 15:29 19/11/2012
Toheroa
TOXIN: Toheroa is one of the shellfish species currently affected by Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning.

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A public health warning to people collecting shellfish along Auckland's coastline has been extended.

On Saturday, the Auckland Regional Public Health Service said routine shellfish toxin testing from the Manukau Harbour showed high levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning, which could cause paralysis or respiratory failure in extreme cases.

The expanded area now incorporates shellfish collected from Mohakatino (Taranaki) north to Maunganui Bluff (north of Dargaville), as well as the Manukau and Kaipara Harbours.

Shellfish including kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters, cockles and scallops taken from the affected areas should not be eaten and officials stressed cooking them would not remove the poison.

Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken, however the gut should be removed before cooking. It is safe to eat the flesh of fish, but not the guts of fish that feed on algae or shellfish.

Symptoms of the poisoning usually occur within 12 hours after eating shellfish containing the toxins and can include numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities, difficulty swallowing or breathing, dizziness and double vision or worse.

Shellfish and seawater samples would continue to be tested regularly by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

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