Shellfish and fishing warning for the Swan River: Pelican Point to West Swan Road Bridge, Guildford

Published: Friday, 22 March 2019 at 1:40:00 PM

The Department of Health is advising people not to eat fish, crabs or shellfish collected from within the Swan River, extending from Pelican Point to West Swan Road Bridge, Guildford.

This revised warning follows recent testing which has confirmed the potentially toxic microscopic algae has. moved significantly upstream from what was previously Garratt Rd Bridge, now to West Swan Rd.  The algae produce a toxin which could be absorbed by filter feeding shellfish.  Ingestion of the toxins could produce a type of poisoning known as paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP).  Cooking will not destroy these toxins. 

People who consume wild shellfish, crabs or fish collected from this affected Swan River area may experience symptoms including, tingling or numbness of the lips, prickliness of the fingertips and toes, nausea or vomiting, impaired balance, dizziness, slurred speech, double vision, weakness, difficulty in swallowing or breathing, loss of fluids and diarrhoea.  In severe cases PSP may cause muscular paralysis in people who consume affected shellfish, crabs or fish.

The Department of Health advise that anyone who had consumed shellfish, crabs or fish collected from the Swan River and experiences any of these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention, particularly if they feel any respiratory distress.

Health warning signs advising against crabbing, shellfish collection and fishing have now been placed at a number of locations within the Town.  It is not known how long the bloom will persist.  Its current prevalence at concentrations of concern, is attributed to suitable temperature and salinity, available nutrients, calm water conditions with limited mixing and low rainfall.

Other recreational activities including swimming, skiing and boating are not likely to be affected by this microalgae species, but as a general rule swimming should be avoided in areas of discoloured water.

The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions will continue to monitor algae levels within the Swan River and provide advice to the Department of Health.

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