News

Temporary fishing closure in Port Pirie area

Monday 14 September 2020

A 12 month fishing closure will be implemented in waters directly adjacent to the Port Pirie township from 12.01 am tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 September 2020).


The closure is in response to new information from a recent University of South Australia report produced in partnership with Flinders Ports Holdings, Nyrstar and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

SA Health has recommended that until further investigations are completed into the human health risks from the contaminated sediment, any seafood caught within the Port Pirie closure area should not be consumed.

This risk can be easily avoided by choosing commercially-caught seafood or seafood taken outside of the Port Pirie closure zones.

Acting Executive Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Department of Primary Industries and Regions, Gavin Begg said the temporary closure was a precautionary step in light of this latest research on sediment contamination and following advice from SA Health and EPA.

"Putting this fishing closure in place will allow enough time for further investigation into risks in the area to be conducted and whether these closures may need to extend into future years," he said.

"This closure has been established as a precautionary measure to ensure people remain safe by not eating seafood caught in these two zones.

"People wanting to fish around Port Pirie will need to be aware of this closure and where seafood can still be safely caught and consumed."

The closure will cover two zones, reflecting the different levels of contamination revealed from this latest research. Shore, jetty and boat-based fishing activity is restricted in the closure areas as follows:

  • Zone 1 – waters south and west of Weeroona Island Boat Ramp and including First Creek, Second Creek and Port Pirie River. All species, including all molluscs, crustaceans and fish, must not be taken from this area (see map) (PNG 420.2 KB).
  • Zone 2 – waters in the Port Germein area, extending north and west from Weerona Island Boat Ramp. Bivalve molluscs eg. oysters, mussels, scallops and razorfish, must not be taken from this area (see map) (PNG 420.2 KB).

Professor Begg said the closure has no impact on commercial seafood caught in the broader area which is taken outside of these zones.

"All seafood sold commercially is caught outside the closure area and may be subjected to testing through the National Residue Survey and as part of the state’s seafood quality assurance programs; with testing to date from South Australian waters demonstrating continued high quality product in the market. So you can have the confidence to purchase South Australian seafood knowing that it is delicious, and has a long standing reputation of being safe."

More information on the temporary fishing closure at Port Pirie is available at pir.sa.gov.au/fishing or via the SA Fishing Guide app.

Parents of children living in Port Pirie are encouraged to engage with the Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre for more information about how to reduce exposure to lead (8638 4100).

Any suspicious or illegal fishing activity can be reported to the 24 hour Fishwatch number on 1800 065 522. Callers can choose to remain anonymous.

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