Toxic pufferfish wash up on beach

Pet owners have been told to keep their dogs off the beach due to toxic pufferfish.

Dog owners are being warned to keep their pets off Whangamata and Whitianga beaches due to a number of dead pufferfish being washed up.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council have confirmed that a number of dead pufferfish were found washed up on Friday. 

"We advise people and pets to keep a safe distance and not touch the fish, as they could potentially have a neurotoxin in their skin and intestine and they have sharp spines," says council spokesman Brian Taylor.

The council’s environmental health team have removed the fish and taken them for testing. 

"As it will be several weeks until we get results on whether these pufferfish are poisonous, we are putting out a precautionary message to the public now to play it safe.

"We have seen these fish wash up at two different beaches. There could also be a good reason to suspect they are washing up along the entire east coast of the Coromandel, including Tairua, Pauanui, Hahei and Hot Water beaches," says Brian.

The pufferfish toxin is called tetrodotoxin. The fish are related to the poisonous Japanese fugu pufferfish. They have sharp spines and their liver and other parts of the fish are very toxic.


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