FULLERTON Cove and Tilligerry Creek will re-open to fishing on Saturday, the Department of Primary Industries has announced.
The change follows lengthy closures of both estuaries due to contamination from firefighting chemicals historically associated with the Williamtown RAAF base.
The closures will have been in place for just over a year when they are lifted at the start of October.
Fisheries deputy director Geoff Allan said the closures’ end followed advice from the Williamtown Contamination Expert Panel.
“These fishing closures have been in place since September 2015 and were implemented while testing and analysis of seafood in the vicinity was undertaken, to determine the level of impact in the Hunter and Port Stephens waterways,” Dr Allan said.
“DPI Fisheries and the NSW Food Authority have conducted sampling of prawns, fish and oysters with results provided to the Expert Panel. These results have concluded the continued presence of PFAS in some seafood, but at levels that provide minimal risk to most consumers.
“The public can be confident that seafood for sale is safe to eat.”
Ongoing restrictions will remain on dusky flathead from the Hunter river for commercial fishers.
Dr Allan said this was due to elevated and variable levels of the firefighting chemicals detecting in sampling that “now requires some further assessment to be undertaken”.
Advice on consuming local seafood will be provided to the community, including amounts and frequency given some residents “may be exposed to PFAS from a number of sources”.
More to come.