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Safer - Non-contaminated Areas To Fish


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Heya Guys,

What are the safe or "not so ccontaminated" areas to consume the fish you catch there..?..

Does my question even makes sense?.. if not ...ummm..hope u still get the idea! :thumbup:

I couldnt find any info on the web.. :mad3:



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I take it that you're speaking of the harbour. 'They' reckon that nothing west of the bridge should be eaten and only about 150grams per month of fish caught east of the bridge. All a bit over pretentious really.

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I take it that you're speaking of the harbour. 'They' reckon that nothing west of the bridge should be eaten and only about 150grams per month of fish caught east of the bridge. All a bit over pretentious really.

Thanks Josh...speaking about west of harbour...what areas we're looking at?.. like Gladesville, Iron cove etc??

I know its a silly question... :wacko: but my knowledge about fishing around harbour is closer to NIL !

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Yes thats correct, if you were going over the bridge towards circular quay west is to the right, i know of cases of people eating fish from west of the bridge that have and haven't gotten sick from it, so its really up to the angler

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Hi Ritchie.

The problem is that fish migrate seasonally and interchange fairly regularly. The metallic problem in Sydney Harbour led to the advice not to eat certain species until the all clear was given. However nothing much has been said since to my knowledge. I remember a Harbour trawler's family were found to carry a high level of dioxins but did that affect their health, I don't know.

It's hard to say how long a bream would remain around Silverwater or what exposure time is necessary to make a fish too toxic to eat if that's possible, or how often a school from the upper Georges goes out thru the wash areas near the end of Bate Bay and then decides to school up in the Hacking for example, which is regarded as being clean with healthy fish. I don't know about them all being healthy, I don't know who classes what fish as "healthy" enough to eat and under what circumstances. I would be inclined to agree with the Port Hacking system being reasonably clean, there being no freshwater connection and the system flushes out with the tides and the water is being constantly turned over and replenished.

Ritchie, your question is a very interesting one and I think it's important enough to try and get some sort of an answer from fisheries thru admin etc. for the benefit of all and sundry and everybody associated with this site, and particularly in regard to the eating qualities of fish in the Sydney area which remain up river for long periods, before moving out to migrate or go out to sea during floods etc. with other species coming down from the cleaner areas in the north, migrating with the warm currents etc.

Perhaps Malacoota Pete may have some research on the pollution figures for the Sydney waterways and perhaps other relevent excerpts.

Good topic Ritchie :thumbup:


jewgaffer :1fishing1:

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This is the most recent data I could find on this topic :

20 Dec 2007

New test results mean food consumption guidelines have been relaxed for two fish species popular with anglers in Sydney Harbour.

After 1200 tests Dusky flathead and Fan-belly Leatherjackets from the eastern Harbour were found to have dioxin levels as low as, or lower than, other species previously tested.

The news comes as a Greater Sydney Region Recreational Fishing Survey gets underway with anglers and spear fishers in Sydney Harbour to be asked about their fishing habits and catches.

The survey is part of a plan to gather vital information that will be used to manage the sector and improve recreational fishing. It comes at the same time as test results reveal good news for at least two popular recreational species in the Harbour.

Recent tests revealed Dusky flathead dioxin levels averaged 2 picograms per gram and Fanbelly Leatherjackets averaged 1 picogram per gram in the eastern Harbour - both well below the 6 picogram level recommended by the NSW Food Authority Expert Panel.

This means that the dietary advice from the Food Authority for these 2 species now changes from just one, 150 gram serve per month, to 12 servings for flathead and 24 servings for Fanbelly Leatherjacket.

This is great news for anglers east of the Bridge - but all other restrictions remain in place.

Fishers who are unsure of what type of fish they are catching, or want to consume species that have not been tested, should continue follow the current dietary advice of 150 grams per month for fish from east of the Harbour Bridge only.

It is important to remind all fishers that the recommendation of the Expert Panel still stands and that fish from west of the Bridge should not be consumed.

Sydney Harbour was closed to commercial fishing and restrictions were placed on recreational fishing after high levels of dioxin were found in bream and prawns (the main commercial catches) following testing in late 2005.


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G'day Ritchie,

Here is some further reading with an FAQ on dioxins in the harbour from the NSW Food Authority.

Ross is correct with the latest release on dioxin pollution in the harbour being Dec 2007...Nothing

released since then.

It seems to come down to a "personal risk" thing at the moment with the Govt. warning consumers on the limits they agree is safe to eat and where their testing showed higher levels.

I'll try and get some more info from the Govt. and see if they are going to issue any more up to date data.

Personally, I wouldn't eat anything west of the harbour Bridge, but that's just me.

Hope this helps you understand the ongoing saga.



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1095221666203_1_.htmlhey ritchie,i'm 45 and have lived around the area for most off that time,here's the history off the river as i remember it

serving an trade at silverwater at the age off 16

polution;shell oil refinery

tar plant up duck creek

valvalene oil plant silverwater bridge

battery plant silverwater bridge

navey storege hangers northside silverwater bridge

navey storage bunkers where olyimpic site is

as a kid working at silverwater i can tell you there were no mangroves from west ryde up streem all the way to parra it was a toxic wastland with free for all dumping

there was also homebush meetworks with a ofal channel straight to the river

now i will only talk about hombush and back up stream as thats the area i know off first hand

anyway as i was saying it was a dumping free for all

then as the years rolled on and the plants either closed or cleaned up there act the river slowly started to come back

we all new the toxins were still there but were being covered with silt from up stream

around 1980 an old gent was digging worms on the north side off silverwater bridge and was gassed from the fermenting brew about 18 inches under the mud

then there was a bit off digging done around the area and the full extent off the dumping was relised

they disided to clean up the area an use the olimpics to pay for it[good work bravo golf clap]

they disided no to clean up the river as it was too hard[probly a good idea as they would have srewed the whole harbor]any way it all was forgoten and we went on with our lives

THEN COME THE KILLER RIVER CATS[one lerkin around ever corner waiting to strike]

they started to sturr the mud and ribbon weed

i have followed cats and every time they hit the gas the crap they sturr up is to be seen to be belived

well it was only a mater off time till they reached the toxic level and sturred it up

so you will probly start to see the mangrove disapear over the next 10 years

i think the best thing to do for the river would be no cats and no boats up stream from silverwater bridge

let the silt cover the toxins again and hope the mangroves can hold on heres some stuff i found on the net

my advise do'nt eat west off harbor bridge do'nt even give fish you catch there to the inlaws no matter how much you dislike them

regards brickman

Edited by brickman
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Thanks for all the info Gentlemen!...

Honestly, I didnt know the harbour region is this much polluted, before posting this thread..hmmm..now i start to remember how i've had afew breams sometime ago caught under the Gladesville bridge :wacko:

ah well..guess a tad bit of toxins in your body wont do much harm ! haha

Anyways, yes, I guess its much safer to stay away from those waters and put up with the long drives to the Hawkesbury! :)

Thanksa gain for all the info and I'd definietely dig in to this..may be a few phone calls to the NSW Maritime.. ;)

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I have just spoken to the NSW Food Authority to see if there is any further update on the dioxin

levels in the harbour.

They advise that no new media releases are planned for the short term, but they are continually monitoring the situation and if and when new data is released, it will be posted immediately on their website:




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