Safe New Zealand Seafood programme

Mussels from Olga

ESR is contributing our science expertise to this seven year research programme led by the Cawthron Institute and funded by the Ministry of Business, Science and Innovation (MBIE). The goal of the Safe New Zealand Seafood (SNZS) programme is to ensure that New Zealand seafood is safe to consume and meets market requirements.

The programme is looking at harmful algal bloom technologies, marine toxin chemistry and toxicology, virus monitoring and infectivity, and bacterial contamination. It brings together a range of experts from Cawthron, ESR, Plant and Food Research, Agresearch and independent experts, as well as industry stakeholders such as commercial organisations, regulatory agencies and industry bodies in order to focus research priorities on seafood sector needs and benefits.

Already the programme has assisted with investigations into:

  • recurrent annual blooms of the Alexandrium catenella in the Marlborough Sounds,
  • elevated levels of tetrodotoxin found in seas slugs – the causative toxin for dog deaths on Auckland beaches
  • recurring pinnatoxins found in Northland oysters resulting in harvesting closures

The science undertaken by this research programme will help ensure the safety of New Zealand seafood and that we continue to produce high quality seafood for domestic and global markets.