Hawke’s Bay District Health Board is warning people not to harvest shellfish from Hawke Bay until 7 December, following Napier’s flood event.
Medical Officer of Health Dr Nick Jones said the warning was due to the health risk of eating shellfish that could be contaminated with sewage following the floods.
“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.
Dr Jones said shellfish such as mussels, oysters, cockles, and pipis were all filter feeders meaning they constantly filtered seawater.
“If sewage is present shellfish will ingest and hold onto the bugs meaning people could get sick.”
Other marine species including fish, crayfish, kina and paua were considered unaffected because they were not filter feeders, and could continue to be harvested, he said.
The warning, in place until 7 December, allowed 28 days from the flood event for any sewage contamination to be rectified.
Anyone who may have consumed uncooked shellfish from the above areas and are feeling unwell should contact their doctor immediately or phone Healthline on 0800 611 116.