Shellfish along the coastline, between Whareongaonga (approximately 22km north of Mahia) and Mohaka River, should not be eaten due to dangerous levels of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) toxin.

The Hawke's Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) warning, initially issued on May 26, remains in place.

In the meantime:

Kina, mussels, toheroa, pipis, tuatua, oysters and cockles in the affected area should not be eaten;

Paua, 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;

Cooking affected shellfish does not remove the toxin;

Fish such as snapper, gurnard, and tarakihi are not affected by the algae and are still safe to eat.

Anyone eating toxic shellfish in closed areas could be at risk of serious illness. Symptoms of PSP can occur within 12 hours of eating affected seafood and can include:

Numbness and a tingling (prickly feeling) around the mouth, face and extremities first.

Difficulty swallowing, or breathing.

Headache, dizziness and double vision.

Severe cases may suffer respiratory arrest resulting in death if medical treatment is not immediately available.

If anyone becomes ill after eating shellfish from any area they should contact a doctor immediately and also advise HBDHB’s Public Health Unit on (06) 878 1329. The unit has sent information to doctors, community groups and other authorities in the region.

Warning signs in the extended closure area have been erected at main shellfish collection and boat launching sites.

Anyone wanting further information can phone the HBDHB’s Toxic Shellfish Information Line on (06) 878 1329. There is a pre-recorded message giving the latest sampling results, the status of the closure, and a facility for people to leave their contact details and a message if required.

Information on the closure will be posted and updated on the HBDHB website www.healthinhawkesbay.co.nz in the Public Health Unit area of the site.

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