People advised to not swim or collect shellfish

People are advised to stay out of the sea in the area around the Invercargill estuary, including Oreti Beach, for the next few days as floodwaters flush out of the river.

People should also avoid an area at the Dunns Road entrance to Oreti beach, where dead burrowing sea cucumbers and shellfish are lying.

The fresh water in the floodwaters are believed to have caused the burrowing sea cucumbers and shellfish deaths on the beach. Only one or two toheroa have been seen. People are advised not to eat any of the shellfish and not to harvest for others either.

Environment Southland staff have gone out to check out the beach and have only found the shellfish in one area.

“Staff are collecting samples for analysis, but in the meantime please stay out of the water, don’t harvest shellfish and avoid the area where the dead shellfish are.”