UPDATE: Questions to be answered around Swan River algal bloom


The Department of Health has updated its toxic algal bloom warning to include parts of the Canning River.

The update follows earlier health advice, warning people not to eat fish, crabs or shellfish collected from within the Swan River – from Pelican Point to Como Jetty and upstream to Tonkin Highway Bridge (this includes the commonly known areas of Matilda Bay, Perth Waters, Elizabeth Quay, Barrack Street Jetty, Claisebrook Cove, Maylands Yacht Club, Ascot Waters and Riverside Gardens) see map below.

Recent testing by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) has now identified elevated levels of the same, potentially toxic Alexandrium algae in the Canning River and the health warning has been extended to the area from the South of Perth Yacht Club to Como Jetty and upstream to Kent Street Weir.

More information on the algal bloom here


The algae detected by Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions  (DBCA) water sampling is the same as the one detected at elevated levels between February and May last year and can cause paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) in humans leading to symptoms including nausea and vomiting, headaches, blurred and/or double vision, loss of balance, difficulty in swallowing and breathing.

In severe cases, PSP may cause muscular paralysis in people who consume affected shellfish, crabs or fish. Anyone who has consumed shellfish, crabs or fish collected from the affected area of the Swan River and experiences any of these symptoms should seek urgent medical attention, particularly if they have difficulty breathing.


This latest algal bloom at a time of many of us are fishing in the river is obviously very alarming – particularly because there was little information around what caused the previous bloom.

Rest assured, Recfishwest will keep you updated on developments and we are seeking answers from DBCA to a number of questions including:

  1. How serious is the risk of eating crabs, fish and shellfish from the affected area?
  2. What has caused this latest bloom?
  3. What does this say about the health of the river when this is the second bloom of this type of algae in less than a year?
  4. What are DBCA and the Government doing to eradicate the algae and making it safe to eat crabs, shellfish and fish from the river again?
  5. What is DBCA and DoH doing to alert people fishing in the affected area who might be unaware of the situation?

Thousands of recfishers fish in the Swan, one of the most important fishing locations in the metro, and we will be doing all we can to make sure this fantastic estuarine environment is properly looked after and protected.