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Home > Latest News > Media Releases > Media Releases 2012 > August 2012 > Shellfish toxin warning reinstated

Shellfish toxin warning reinstated

Friday, 10 August 2012 10:30 a.m.

As a result of testing, people are advised to avoid collecting or eating shellfish from a large area along the Coromandel and Bay of Plenty coastline.

The area includes the coastline from Tairua (including Tairua Harbour) to Bowentown heads.

"Sampling confirms high levels of paralytic shellfish poison along this stretch of coast.  We strongly urge people to avoid all shellfish from this area until further notice.  It is unfortunate that this warning has had to be reinstated so soon, however this is a natural occurrence which is difficult to predict," says Medical Officer of Health, Dr Jim Miller.

The health warning affects all bi-valve shellfish including mussels, pipi, tuatua, cockles, oysters, scallops, catseyes and kina (sea urchin). Paua, crayfish and crabs can still be taken but as always, the gut should be removed before cooking.

Consumption of shellfish affected by the paralytic shellfish toxin can cause numbness and tingling around the mouth, face or extremities; difficulty swallowing or breathing; dizziness; double vision; and in severe cases, paralysis and respiratory failure.  These symptoms usually occur within 12 hours of a person consuming affected shellfish.

Anyone suffering illness after eating shellfish should seek medical attention. Monitoring of toxin levels will continue along the coast and any changes will be communicated accordingly.

For all health warning updates across the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts call 0800 221 555. Further information is available at


For more information or comment, contact:

Dr Jim Miller

Medical Officer of Health

Phone: 07 577 3789 or after hours via the hospital switchboard on 07 579 8000.