Initial shellfish sampling shows no toxins

Seagulls eat tuatua shellfish scattered across Waitarere Beach.
Karoline Tuckey

Seagulls eat tuatua shellfish scattered across Waitarere Beach.

Initial tests on the shellfish washed up on two Horowhenua beaches have found they are not toxic.

However, a warning not to eat them remains in place until further testing can be carried out.

Thousands of shellfish washed up on Waitarere Beach and Hokio Beach, near Levin, on Friday.

Tua Tua are scattered across the sand on Waitarere Beach.
Karoline Tuckey

Tua Tua are scattered across the sand on Waitarere Beach.

MidCentral District Health Board warned people not to collect or eat the shellfish out of concern it could be ​poisonous.

READ MORE: Thousands of dead shellfish wash up at Horowhenua beaches

The warning remains in place while the Ministry of Primary Industries investigates. 

On Tuesday, a ministry spokeswoman said full test results would not be be available until later in the week, but based on sampling results taken last week, there was no indication of biotoxin present in the shellfish.

The spokeswoman also said it was safe to fish in the area, but any commercially harvested seafood would not go to market until the biotoxin results came back.

The ministry advised people not to consume "obviously sick or dead animals".

Ian Clark lives at Waitarere beach for about five months of the year and fishes there every day. 

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He saw the shellfish starting to build up last Tuesday, but didn't really notice a particularly large volume until Thursday. 

"The birds were down there in their hundreds and thousands. They were eating that much they couldn't eat any more.

"I've never seen anything like it before.

"It's unbelievable."

Horizons Regional Council tested water quality at Hokio Beach on March 14 and as a result, warned people not to swim there.

Warning signs have now been posted at both beaches.

The council was undertaking new tests on Tuesday and expected results later in the week.




 - Stuff


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