5 Aug 2011

Warning whitebait from Christchurch rivers unsafe

5:51 pm on 5 August 2011

Health authorities are warning people not to eat any whitebait caught from Christchurch rivers due to sewage contamination.

There have been advisories against gathering fish or shellfish from Christchurch waterways since the February earthquake.

The whitebait season for most of the country begins on 15 August and ends on 30 November. On the West Coast the season runs from 1 September until 14 November.

Canterbury DHB Medical Officer of Health Alistair Humphrey says it is important that local whitebaiters continue to heed the warnings.

Dr Humphrey says although the council are working very hard to finish fixing damaged drains, raw sewage is still being discharged into the Avon River.

"Both the Avon and the Heathcote rivers are off-limits for recreational use - they really are quite badly contaminated."

Dr Humphrey says any whitebait caught in the rivers or estuary could make people very sick.