Dead fish Mr. Brumby!

Dead fish floating in the Yarra near Newport is apparently not sufficient to stop PoMC dredging up toxins …so we are wondering if Mr. Brumby could tell just what needs to happen before he would call a stop to Yarra dredging.  


At the very least you would have hoped that the Office of Environmental Monitor (OEM) would call for dredging of toxins to cease until the cause of the fish deaths had been properly investigated, but the OEM chaired by EPA Director Mick Bourke has been silent on the issue. This is further evidence that the OEM’s Rule book is not worth the paper it is written on. Of course the “Rule Book” is merely the Environmental Management Plan as written by the PoMC, so what can you expect?

Surely it is more than a coincidence that fish have been found dead right near where the Boskalis grab dredge Goomai is excavating toxic sludge heavily laden with mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, cyanide, TBT, DDT and more. No wonder the poor fish chucked it in!


Fishing near Spotswood. Goomai at work Image: P. Crotty


Earlier this year, before dredging commenced, fish were found in the Yarra and the Bay with odd lesions, suggesting there was already something wrong in the waterway. The river is already stressed from contaminated run-off from drains and creeks, but to make matters even worse Premier Brumby has decreed that the Yarra’s environmental flows should be further reduced to augment Melbourne’s drinking water. It is elementary that exhuming millions of tonnes of toxic material from the Yarra bed must add to the stresses already being imposed on the river.


Flathead with lesions caught in lower Yarra January 2008. Would you eat this Mr. Brumby? 


Victorian government (Department of Health) warnings advising that fish consumption from the Yarra should be limited have been in place since early 2007. But, the recent fish kill and the fact that millions of tonnes of toxic sludge are being excavated has not as yet sounded any alarm bells in Mr. Brumby’s Department of Health. We wonder why? 


So – given we have been assured by PoMC that there are no additional health risks from the channel deepening project, it’s time to challenge Mr. Brumby and PoMC CEO Stephen Bradford to have a nice big feed of Yarra River fish….. And some of those filter feeding mussels growing under Princes Bridge.

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