The coastline from Amberley to
Birdlings Flat in Canterbury is closed to shellfishing after harmful toxins were
detected in shellfish monitored in the area.
The Community and Public Health
Division of Canterbury District Health Board has issued the closure following
test results revealed Diarrehetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP) toxins are above the
health safety limit.
Canterbury Medical Officer of
Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry’s
monitoring programme has been detecting rising levels of the toxin produced by
phytoplankton (toxic algae) in shellfish samples in recent weeks.
“This closure is the first we
have had for recreational harvesting because of DSP toxins for several years. It
also applies to commercial farms around Banks Peninsula but not to Akaroa
Harbour,” Dr Humphrey says.
“However, levels of toxins in
adjacent areas are being closely monitored and further closure extensions are
also possible in the next few weeks.”
People should not collect or
eat any shellfish from closed areas, this includes scallops, tuatua, cockles,
oysters, mussels, pipis, cats-eyes, pupu, kina and sea urchin.
“Cooking does not remove the
toxins and therefore does not make them safe to eat,” Dr Humphrey
Crayfish, crabs, paua and fin
fish can be eaten provided the gut is removed.
DSP symptoms includes the rapid
onset of abdominal pain, diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting, usually within 24
hours of eating shellfish.
“If you have any of these symptoms you should seek
medical advice from your doctor, whether or not it is after eating shellfish.
But if you have eaten shellfish, please let your doctor know.”
Warning signs will be posted around the area and updates
will be provided as the situation develops.
For more information contact Community and Public Health
on (03) 364 1777.
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