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Published: 2009-08-14 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has carried out precautionary tests in the Firth of Thames to help rule out any risk to people and pets following reports of animal deaths on Hauraki Gulf beaches.

Health authorities and councils in Auckland are still investigating what killed dogs, dolphins, penguins and pilchards in the Hauraki Gulf over the past month.

Environment Waikato scientist Dr Dominique Noiton said although there had been little to indicate any cause for concern, Environment Waikato was taking a precautionary approach and had extended the testing being done in the Hauraki Gulf to the Firth of Thames.

The regional council had found nothing unusual in water samples taken from five locations around the Firth of Thames, she said.

In the wake of concerns about toxic sea slugs, Environment Waikato had also looked to collect sea slugs for analysis.

“No sea slugs – dead or alive - were found along the Thames Coast but if you do find one on the beach, we suggest you don’t touch it and make sure your children and pets don’t either.”

This echoes the advice to Auckland beachgoers to exercise caution and closely supervise their children and dogs to make sure they do not touch sea slugs washed up on the beach.

Questions relating to unusual numbers of dead fish or other marine life can be directed to: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity (MAFBNZ): 0800 809 966 or Department of Conservation (DOC) 0800 362 468

The Auckland Regional Council is the main media contact for the Auckland response: http://www.arc.govt.nz