Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is assisting the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) who is leading the NSW Government’s response to PFAS contamination.
Per- and poly- fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS).
DPI provides technical support on fisheries, biosecurity, food safety, hydrological and groundwater management issues to EPA as part of the Government’s response.
More information on the EPA's statewide PFAS investigation program is available on the EPA's website.
The Commonwealth Government released the Food Standards Australia New Zealand’s (FSANZ) review into the national exposure guidelines for PFAS on Monday 3 April 2017.
The FSANZ review provides guidance on the level or tolerable daily intake (TDI) to inform appropriate consumption of food or water containing PFAS. The new guidelines endorse lower levels for PFAS than the Australian Government’s previous interim enHealth guidelines.
DPI will work with other agencies to assist affected landowners and industry to understand the new recommendations and impacts at affected sites across NSW.
Botany Bay and Georges River
The NSW Government has released precautionary dietary advice for eight finfish species caught in Botany Bay and the Georges River, after testing found per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in these species. The advice will help recreational fishers who regularly catch and eat Dusky Flathead, Sea Mullet, Mulloway, Luderick, Silver Trevally, Arripis Trutta (Australian Salmon), Estuary Perch and Tailor from Botany Bay and the lower Georges River to safely manage their personal intake of these fish. The waters are not closed to fishing and fishers can still take fish within bag and size rules noting the dietary advice, or choose to practice catch and release.
Please note that existing advisories and restrictions are in place for other areas of Georges River and Botany Bay, and are available online.
The NSW Government has released precautionary dietary advice for five fish species caught in the Shoalhaven River, after testing found elevated per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in these species. The advice will help high consumers of Luderick, Sea Mullet, Sand Whiting, Dusky Flathead and Silverbiddy from the identified area, to limit their personal intake of these fish. The EPA is investigating the source of this PFAS contamination and will continue to update the local commercial and recreational fishing communities. Commercial fishers can continue to sell fish they catch in the Shoalhaven River and this fishery remains open. Recreational fishers who regularly catch and eat their own fish in the Shoalhaven River can continue to do so safely but should follow the dietary advice.
As part of the NSW government's response to PFAS contamination at various sites across the state, sampling of fish for PFAS has been completed in the Peel River, downstream from the Jewry Road Bridge at Tamworth.
Following the detection of low levels of PFAS in some species, the NSW Government is recommending that people who personally source and eat fish from this area, such as fishers and local residents, should limit the number of servings of individual species. Advice applies to fish caught from the whole of the waters of the Peel River and its tributaries downstream of Jewry St weir to the road crossing at Appleby Lane, including Wallamore Anabranch and Bolton’s Creek catchment.
All Hunter waterways remain open for commercial fishing, including the Hunter River Estuary, Tilligerry Creek and Fullerton Cove, following the release of the FSANZ report. This follows examination of the outcomes by the Williamtown Expert Panel which has indicated closures of the fisheries are not required.
Previous restrictions on Dusky Flathead for commercial fishers were lifted on 18 April 2017, due to further data and analysis being completed.
Recommendations from the Williamtown Expert Panel also include changes to dietary advice on specific seafood species, including a reduction in the number of serves for some species.
People who personally source and eat fish and seafood from the Hunter River Estuary, Fullerton Cove and Tilligerry Creek, such as fishers and local residents, should limit the number of servings of individual species.
Specific dietary advice is available on the EPA website.