UPDATE: Latest update on the Swan River algal bloom

SWAN RIVER ALGAL BLOOM UPDATE 01 MAY 2020

Department of Health is reminding people that the warning associated with persisting toxic Alexandrium algal in the Swan and Canning Rivers remains in effect.

Fish, crabs or shellfish collected from within the following waterways should not be eaten due to the potential for unsafe levels of paralytic shellfish toxins:

  • Swan River – from Pelican Point, Crawley to the south of Perth Yacht Club, Applecross and upstream to Middle Swan (Reid Highway) Bridge. Middle Swan includes the commonly known areas of Como Jetty, Matilda Bay, Perth Waters, Elizabeth Quay, Barrack Street Jetty, Claisebrook Cove, Maylands Yacht Club, Ascot Waters, Hind Reserve, Riverside Gardens, Garvey Park, Sandy Beach Reserve, Point Reserve, Kings Meadow, Fish Market Reserve and Woodbridge Riverside Park.
  • Canning River – from the South of Perth Yacht Club and upstream to Kent Street Weir (this includes commonly known areas of Canning Bridge, Mt Henry Bridge, Salter Point, Shelley Bridge, Riverton Bridge, and Castledare).

For more information, click here.

NOTE: Despite Department of Health signs stating “NO FISHING”, there is no reason why you can’t continue to catch and release fish without any risk to your health in the affected areas.

More information on the algal bloom can be found in these FAQs

A map of the impacted area can be viewed below:

Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions continues to conduct weekly water quality monitoring at an increased number of sites to track the extent of the bloom.

Mussels, crabs and fish are also being tested for the Alexandrium toxin. DoH and local riverfront councils have arranged for health warning signs advising against eating shellfish, crabs and fish to be erected at key riverfront locations including jetties, boat ramps and key accessible foreshore areas within the affected region.

It should be noted that swimming and other aquatic recreational activities on the Swan and Canning rivers are not impacted by the algal bloom, but as a general rule swimming should be avoided in areas of discoloured water.

DBCA is conducting weekly water quality monitoring at an increased number of sites to track the extent of the bloom.

Oyster Reefs in Albany

Recfishwest’s partnership with The Nature Conservancy Australia, University of Western Australia and South Coast Natural Resource Management to help bring back the oyster reefs in Oyster Harbour in Albany is starting to pay dividends. Habitat restoration is important to Western Australian recreational fishers and it is hoped the project will help secure the return of the oyster reefs which were once a thriving and abundant part of the Oyster Harbour underwater seascape.

These reefs, which were almost completely removed over 100 years ago by dredging, provided complex habitat for fish as well as filtering water and capturing nutrients. However, like in many bays and estuaries across Australia, Oyster Harbour’s abundant oyster reefs have been lost. This project, which is partially funded by fishing licence fees through the Recreational Fishing Initiatives Fund, aims to identify and restore oyster reefs to help to improve recreational fishing, biodiversity and water quality in Oyster Harbour.

As the project works towards large-scale restoration efforts from next year onwards, this month a trial plot of native flat oysters will be placed in Oyster Harbour. Around 6000 juvenile oysters which were raised on recycled bivalve shells at Frenchman Bay hatchery in Albany, will now be placed onto new rubble reefs.  These new rubble reefs are being placed onto the harbour floor to provide a foundation for the juveniles to grow on and develop into new oyster reefs, providing high-quality fish habitat and a great new fishing spot for species like black bream and whiting.

This project marks the second stage of The Nature Conservancy Australia’s (TNC) Great Southern Seascapes program. TNC has already embarked on an Australian-first pilot program testing a range of reef restoration methods based on successful overseas reef restoration programs, in Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay. Recfishwest recognises that healthy waterways underpin healthy fish stocks and we strongly support protecting and restoring fish habitat to ensure enjoyable experiences for the hundreds of thousands of West Australians who like to wet a line.