All-clear for fishing and crabbing in Swan River

The Department of Health has lifted warnings dating back to March 2019, not to eat fish or crabs collected from the Swan River.

The Department is now advising that the Swan River is all-clear for fishing and crabbing. However, the Department’s standing warning to avoid eating shellfish collected recreationally in rivers, estuaries or other waterways remains in place as the quality of these shellfish for consumption cannot be guaranteed.

Shellfish includes oysters, mussels, clams, pipis, scallops, cockles and razor clams.

Acting Environmental Health Executive Director Dr Michael Lindsay said ongoing water quality monitoring undertaken by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), within the Swan River over the last month, has not detected the toxic micro-algae, Alexandrium spp. The algae had been at elevated levels in the river since March 2019 and triggered concerns over toxicity of seafood in the affected area.

Testing for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins in black bream, blue swimmer crabs and mussels at the peak of the bloom identified PSP toxins in the mussels and crabs only. No toxins have been found in crab testing since the bloom declined. However, PSP toxins remain in mussels at low levels.

Dr Lindsay said farmed shellfish purchased in supermarkets and other commercial outlets in WA were not affected as there was a strict quality-assurance program to ensure these shellfish were safe for human consumption.