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Seaweed A Deadly Diet For Sydney Harbour Shrimp


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Did anyone catch Channel Nine's News tonight?

They had a report on heavy metals contamination of seaweed in Sydney Harbour.

It is apparently poisoning marine life that feeds on the seaweed, which inturn is also

poisoning the fish that eat that marine life.

Just another chapter in the sorry saga of the effects of the dioxin contamination which brought

about the ban on commercial fishing in the Harbour this year.

Here is the text of the report which aired on Channel Nine tonight:



Seaweed a deadly diet for Sydney Harbour shrimp

Thursday August 31, 2006

By Dale Paget

National Nine News

EXCLUSIVE: Earlier this year we learned dioxin had poisoned fish in Sydney Harbour — now there's more bad news.

Scientists are warning that harbour seaweed is contaminated with heavy metals and it's taking a catastrophic toll on some marine life.

The contamination was revealed after University of New South Wales experts tested seaweed from the harbour floor.

"They are at high enough concentrations to cause the death of small crustaceans," marine biologist Dr Emma Johnston told National Nine News.

The most vulnerable are tiny shrimp-like creatures that eat the poisoned seaweed.

The study reports that up to 75 percent of their offspring are not able to survive the toxic diet.

"These small animals may be tiny but they are also the food for larger animals such as fish," explained Dr Johnston.

The source of heavy metals such as lead copper and zinc is diverse — anti-fouling paint on boats as well as urban and industrial runoff are major contributors to the pollution.

Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald said some was dumped in the harbour along with dioxins decades ago when pollution controls should have been better.

"Of course heavy metals have got into the seaweed and into the seabed," he said.

Dr Johnston believes the levels are an indicator of the potential for further damage to marine life.

"The contaminations in the seaweed are as high as we find elsewhere in the world in heavily polluted harbours," she said.

Half of the harbour still has to be surveyed but Rushcutters Bay and Mort Bay at Balmain are heavy metal hot spots where scientists warn marine life is in jeopardy.


Edited by MallacootaPete
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So what does this mean to weed eating fish in the harbour, such as blackfish?? Are there many/any Fishraiders still fishing the harbour & eating their catch? I will be in Sydney next week & was planning on taking my blackie gear down to fish Berry Island Reserve (Wollstonecraft).

Have Fisheries taken samples of different fish & tested the dioxin levels in them from all the different bays? It would seem the logical thing to do.

I would assume that the more open areas seaward side of the bridge would be less affected than the closed in bays on the other side of the Bridge. Berry Island is only a few bays around from Luna Park, so it may be less affected than those further up the harbour - however, there is an oil depot of some sort across the water from it!

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