Jump to content

Fish Eaters Poisoned

Recommended Posts

This is from the Sydney Morning Herald 20/4 and follows the ABC 7:30 report last night

on a study they did on Professional Fishos being poisoned by Dioxin in the Harbour.


By Lisa Pryor

April 20, 2006

Page 1 of 2 | Single page

RECREATIONAL anglers can still catch and eat fish from the harbour even though Sydneysiders who regularly eat harbour seafood have been found with sky-high levels of toxic dioxin chemicals in their blood.

Members of a Sydney family who ate harbour seafood three to four times each week have dioxin levels many times higher than the average Australian, an investigation by the ABC's 7.30 Report has found.

Luca Ianni, 6, the son of a harbour fisherman, Tony Ianni, had dioxin levels seven times higher than the typical Australian child. He had regularly eaten harbour seafood, including prawns and calamari, since he was two.

"We'd bring two or three kilos of prawns home and boil them up, and have them with the family, we'd all eat boiled prawns," Mr Ianni told the 7.30 Report.

Blood test results were even worse for Luca's grandfather Andrew Crisafi, who grew up in Woolloomooloo and began fishing full-time in 1946. The 74-year-old had more than 113 picograms per gram of dioxin in his blood. That is more than 10 times the average for an Australian adult.

Dioxins are toxic chemicals which can concentrate in body fat and accumulate as they move through the food chain, according to the NSW Food Authority. In humans, they can cause chronic conditions such as skin lesions and in some animal experiments they have caused reproductive disorders, immune disorders and cancer.

Commercial harbour fishing was banned in January because high levels of these chemicals were found in seafood, but recreational fishing is still permitted.

Signs began to be put up around the harbour last week warning the public to eat no more than 150 grams of fish, or 300 grams of harbour prawns each month, and suggesting recreational fishermen release their catch.

The results of blood tests conducted by the 7.30 Report are troubling news for commercial fisherman such as Mark Forrester, of Five Dock.

Before turning his efforts to the Hawkesbury and Pittwater since the January ban, he fished the harbour for 17 years. During this time his family ate harbour fish at least twice a week, and went through one to two kilos of prawns each week during summer.

"We've been asking at quite a few meetings about blood tests for ourselves and our families and at the moment everyone is saying no."

The Opposition environment spokesman, Michael Richardson, called on the Government to pay the cost of blood testing the families of all 44 fishermen who had been licensed to fish commercially in the harbour. Dioxin testing costs about $2000 a person.

"If there are four or five people in the family that's $8000 to $10000 and how are you going to find that sort of money when you're out of a job?" Mr Richardson said.

Jason Bartlett, a spokesman for the Primary Industries Minister, Ian Macdonald, said there were no plans to ban recreational fishing in the harbour in light of the findings.

"The recreational fishing tests have come back pretty good," Mr Bartlett said.

Government tests last month found harbour fish such as sand whiting and kingfish, which are not bottom feeders, have lower levels of dioxins. It is bottom feeders like bream, prawns and squid which have higher concentrations. This is because the problem originates from contaminated sediment at the bottom of the harbour.

Further tests were being made and no ban would be considered until the results are in, Mr Bartlett said. He rejected calls for Mr Macdonald to offer dioxin testing for harbour fishermen.

Richard Lenarduzzi, a spokesman for the Minister for Health, John Hatzistergos, said: "Current advice from NSW Department of Health is that dioxin testing is not recommended for fishermen and their families because, at the level they are likely to have consumed, there is no reliable link between blood dioxin levels and health risks. However, we are happy to look at any new research on this issue."


Edited by MallacootaPete
Link to comment
Share on other sites

G`day Fellas ,

Sand Whiting Not Bottom Feeders ??????????.

Mmmmmmmm , so all those huge boiling schooling masses of fish seen making gigantic leaps out of the water snatching baitfish on the surface were Sand Whiting all the time eh ? .

Well thats a relief , wouldn`t wanna mislead anybody would They !!!!!.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

well theyve contradicted themselves ther by saying that whiting are not bottom feeders yet whiting and other species were tested and found to be clear. they still havent said anything on flathead yet but id imagine theyd be high in dioxins. the dioxin levels obviously hasnt had much effect on the 74 year old grandfather!!!

cheer pk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...