Shellfish warning issued for Horowhenua beaches

People are being warned not to collect or eat shellfish from both Waitarere and Hokio beaches in Horowhenua due to possible poisoning risks.

Horizons Regional Council pollution duty officer Hamish Sutherland said the team was first alerted to the shellfish from a caller on Friday morning, however there is no reason to believe the thousands of dead and dying shellfish are the result of anything other than a natural phenomenon.

“At this stage there is no obvious source of pollution so our main concern is the public collecting the shellfish with the intention of eating them, which we do not want,” says Mr Sutherland.

MidCentral Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr Rob Weir said the alert covers the area between Waitarere Beach in the north to Hokio Beach in the south, but people are warned not to eat any shellfish washed up on the beach outside of this area.

While it is unknown what is causing the shellfish deaths, anyone eating shellfish from this area could get sick. Cooking shellfish washed up on the beach does not make it safe.

Signage is being put up to alert people to the health risk. Further investigations will be undertaken by MidCentral Public Health to find out what is causing the shellfish deaths.

Further inquiries can be made to MidCentral Public Health Service Duty Health Protection Officer on 06 350 9110.