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Advice regarding monitored shellfish gathering sites in Canterbury

Wednesday, February 26, 2020   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: water, safety, Food, warning, advice

Canterbury DHB media release: 25th February 2020

Environment Canterbury monitors microbial water quality at coastal sites on a weekly basis over summer (from November to March) to determine from where shellfish are safe to eat. This monitoring has highlighted that water quality overlying shellfish does not meet the standards for safe shellfish consumption at some sites.

Sites where shellfish are not safe to eat

People should not gather and eat shellfish (either raw or cooked) from the following listed locations:

  • Woodend Beach;
  • Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai at South Spit, Sandy Point, Beachville Road Jetty, and Shag Rock;
  • Scarborough Beach;
  • Rapaki Bay;
  • Okains Bay Estuary; and
  • Wainui Beach.

These sites should have signage indicating shellfish are unsafe to eat.

The risks of eating shellfish from unsafe locations

Shellfish filter the water around them to get their food. They can also take in bacteria, protozoa and viruses from the water and these will accumulate in their flesh. These micro-organisms can make people who eat the shellfish sick.

The concentration of the faecal coliforms (a type of bacteria) in the water covering shellfish is measured to determine if the shellfish are suitable for human consumption. This measured concentration is compared with the 2003 guideline values from the Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Health.

Sites where shellfish are currently safe to eat

People can safely gather and eat shellfish from the following locations:

  • Mangamānu; and
  • Spencerville Beach

Note: It is not advisable to gather and eat shellfish from sites that are listed as safe after heavy rainfall. This is due to the increased risk of increased bacterial contamination of the shellfish.

Check out the Community and Public Health website for the most up-to-date information about monitored sites and where it is safe to collect and eat shellfish.