Potentially toxic algae found at Wainono Lagoon

The Wainono Lagoon. Photo: Environment Canterbury
The Wainono Lagoon. Photo: Environment Canterbury
A popular fishing spot in South Canterbury has been declared unsafe due to the presence of potentially toxic blue-green algae.

The Wainono Lagoon near Waimate is considered to be of national and international significance due to the high number of native fish and birds that live there.

Canterbury District Health Board's community and public health unit issued a notice yesterday, saying people and animals should avoid contact with the lagoon or drinking its water while the warning is in place.

The unit said boiling the water does not remove the toxin, and fish and shellfish from the lagoon should be avoided because they can concentrate toxins.

It said exposure to the algae (planktonic cyanobacteria) may cause skin rashes, nausea, stomach cramps and numbness around the mouth and fingertips.

Medical officer of health Matthew Reid said anyone who experiences any of these symptoms should visit their doctor immediately and let them know if you have had contact with the lagoon water.

Animals that show signs of illness after coming into contact with algal mats or scums should be taken to a vet immediately, and the vet told that they may have been exposed to algal toxins.

Environment Canterbury will monitor the lake weekly.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter