Funding is being given to New Zealand's largest independent research organisation to try to find out if sea slugs are a threat to seafood.
The Cawthron Institute has been granted $250,000 by Nga pae o te Maramatanga, a government-funded Centre of Research Excellence.
Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp says sea slugs are plaguing beaches in Auckland and information about them is a top priority.
Dr Mapp says the project will be the first major research into tetrodotoxin, the poison found in the slugs, since it became a problem last year with the deaths of dogs.
Sea slugs are a danger to people and pets, but it is not known if they are a wider threat to seafood, he says.