You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Rain likely cause of tuatua washing ashore

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 16/03/2017

Waihi Beach. © Getty Images Waihi Beach. Large numbers of tuatua, or pipi, have washed ashore at Waihi Beach and Bay of Plenty Regional Council believes last week's storm might have played a part.

Council and Waikato University staff have collected samples of the shellfish to analyse for the presence of toxins.

The council says samples have also been sent to the Ministry of Primary Industries to rule out disease as the cause.

Professor Chris Battershill, who is chair in coastal science, a council-funded position, says it's likely a number of factors contributed to the shellfish die-off.

"Apart from the weather bomb that hit the area last week, higher ocean temperatures are being recorded in this area and there have been some large sea swells," he said.

A natural die-off due to stress from overcrowding was also a possibility.

"There is a very large population of shellfish densely packed just off the beach in this area." Prof Battershill said.

"Although most of the shellfish appeared to be dead, we did observe many live shellfish within the wave zone."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon