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Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is advising and warning locals to not harvest shellfish from Hawke’s Bay until December 7 due to recent flooding in Napier.
Medical Health Officer Dr Nick Jones says that the warning was due to the health risk of eating the shellfish, as they could be contaminated with sewage following the flooding.
“Shellfish should not be harvested or eaten from along the coastline between Te Awanga and Tangoio’s Flat Rock (Te Papa), inclusive of the Ahuriri Estuary & Pania/Town Reef.
“Eating raw or undercooked shellfish could make people very sick as there is a risk of bacteria and bugs being present in the shellfish,” he said.
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Shellfish such as mussels, oysters, cockles, and pipis are all filter feeders which means they are constantly filtered with seawater.
“If sewage is present shellfish will ingest and hold onto the bugs meaning people could get sick.”
Fish, crayfish, kina and paua have been declared as unaffected as they were not filter feeders. Locals can continue to fish for these types of species.
The warning is currently in place until December 7.
Image: Napier Docks Harbour/Shutterstock.com