Parts of the Bay of Plenty coastline were polluted by oil and debris from MV Rena, the ship which ran aground on the Astrolabe Reef off the Tauranga coast on 5 October 2011. The beaches have been cleaned.
Small amounts of residual oil and droplets of oil may occasionally resurface and be found on affected beaches. If you do see any oil, avoid contact with it and report it to the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Pollution Hotline – 0800 884 883 so that it can be cleaned up.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is managing and monitoring any clean up related to the MV Rena oil spill. Visit their website for more information about the Rena Recovery.
Seafood / Kaimoana
Based on sampling and risk assessment advice, finfish and crayfish are considered safe to eat. A shellfish monitoring programme has shown there is now no appreciable food safety risk from the MV Rena oil spill.
Please also note that:
There is currently a health warning for the coastline from Waihi Beach to Pukehina in the Bay of Plenty due to sampling which shows high levels of a natural toxin (Paralytic Shellfish Poison) in shellfish.
It is generally not advisable to collect and eat shellfish from beaches and harbours next to built up urban areas or near storm water pipes as these are at more risk of being contaminated by viruses and bacteria.
Proper handling, storage and cooking of shellfish can further lower the risk of illness from viruses and bacteria, view the Food Safety for Seafood Gatherers booklet.