Algal blooms make shellfish from Melville Water unsafe for eating

Remco van Santen paddles on the Swan River.
Remco van Santen paddles on the Swan River.

SHELLFISH from Melville Water should not be eaten amid ongoing algal blooms in Perth’s rivers.

The Department of Parks and Wildlife continued to warn people about the health risks of consuming shellfish from areas where Karenia-type dinoflagellate algae levels continued to be elevated.

Fish kills are also a possibility in the Canning River near Riverton and the Swan River near Bayswater where Karlodinium, a dinoflagellate, is moderately high.

This species presents no direct human health concerns but the Department of Health advises people to avoid swimming in water that looks discoloured, murky or smells unpleasant.

Remco van Santen, of My Clean River, which formed in July last year, said the river’s health had been in decline for decades and referred to his report before the State Election that claimed the river’s health was an off-the-record political football.

He felt there was a greater opportunity for change with the new Labor government and he was hoping to see different fertilisers used upstream in targeted areas.

He said the Karenia-type dinoflagellate was stimulated by fertilisers and animal waste. He also wants land use for animal and recreational activities to be reviewed, notably horse and cattle, which contribute about a third of the pollution.

Mr van Santen wants to see Aboriginal people involved, and an information and tourist centre built for the Swan River.

Questions by the Melville Times for Environment Minister Stephen Dawson were directed by his office to the Department of Parks and Wildlife, which said the government committed $300,000 a year for community groups engaged in rivercare projects.

“The Department of Parks and Wildlife has been working with other government agencies and natural resource management groups in the Avon Catchment on programs to improve fertiliser efficiency and soil health,” a department spokeswoman said.

“The nutrient load from the Avon Catchment is significant and there are opportunities for more to be done.”

People should call FishWatch on 1800 815 507 to report any dead or sluggish fish in the Swan Canning Riverpark.

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