Multi-agency investigation into dieback of Ngunguru shellfish

28 May 2015, 9:50 AM

A multi-agency investigation is underway into apparently large-scale shellfish die-back at the coastal location of Ngunguru, 25km east of Whangarei.

NgunguruThe Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) is in the very early stages of an investigation into dead and dying tuatua found on the seaward side of the Ngunguru sandspit and pipi within the estuary.

Northland Regional Council and the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) are also providing assistance. Council staff collected samples last Friday [22 May] and sent them to MPI for testing.

MPI says it is testing samples to try to understand what might have caused the event and to rule out any biosecurity risk. Investigations like this can require complex testing and it is currently too early to say how long this might take.

In the meantime, Northland District Health Board is recommending people not take or consume shellfish from the area until the results of the investigation are known and is putting up signs to that effect on the Ngunguru foreshore.

MPI encourages the reporting of unusual numbers of dead or dying animals – including fish and shellfish – to the Exotic Disease & Pest hotline (0800) 80 99 66.

Anyone with health concerns relating to shellfish in Northland beaches should contact the Northland DHB's on-call Health Protection Officer (09) 430 4100.