Te Mana Ora | Community and Public Health has issued a
health warning for Hae Hae Te Moana River at
The warning follows finding moderate to high
cover of toxic algae (benthic cyanobacteria) in the Hae Hae
Te Moana River.
People should avoid the area and
animals, particularly dogs, should not be allowed near the
water until the health warning has been lifted.
are also other access points along the Hae Hae Te Moana
River that may have benthic cyanobacteria present. People
are advised to treat every low-flowing river cautiously,
check for the presence of benthic cyanobacteria and avoid
Dr Matthew Reid, Medical Officer of Health
for Te Mana Ora, National Public Health Service, says the
algae look like dark brown to black mats and can produce
toxins harmful to people and animals.
cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps, tingling and
numbness around the mouth and fingertips.”
experience any of these symptoms, visit your doctor
immediately, also let your doctor know if you’ve had
contact with dark brown/black algal mats or water in this
area”, Dr Reid says.
Pets that show signs of
illness after coming into contact with algal mats should be
taken to a vet immediately.
animals should remain out of the waterway until the warning
has been lifted.
Environment Canterbury is monitoring
the site and the public will be advised of any changes in
Facts about benthic
• • Appears as dark
brown/black mats attached to rocks along the
• • A low cover of the algae can occur
naturally but can increase rapidly during warmer months.
Algal blooms are influenced by a combination of available
nutrients in the water and sediments (such as nitrogen and
phosphorus), a sustained period of low and stable flows, and
favourable weather conditions (e.g. increased temperature,
• • It often has a strong musty smell
and algal toxin concentrations can vary over short
• • Although high river levels will remove
the algal bloom, detached mats can accumulate along the
shore and increase the risk of exposure to toxins
• If a health warning is in place avoid contact with the
• • Although district or city councils may
place warning signs, these may not be seen at the numerous
river access points, hence the need for people/ dog-walkers
to treat every low-flowing river cautiously.
further details visit:
contact Te Mana Ora on (03) 364 1777:
more information about Mahinga Kai:
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