Radioactive fish and toxic government?

Fish tested in the recently released Yarra fish study were consistently leaner than the test group caught in 2006 before dredging commenced. Many were 30 to 40 per cent lighter. What isn’t clear is WHY the fish were leaner.

‘Yarra fish leaner but safe to eat’ says The Age, which on 28th May reported on the recently released 2009 Yarra Fish study. According to The Age, results from the 84 bream caught between Docklands and the Yarra mouth revealed dredging contaminated silts had not raised levels of poisons and contaminants in the fish. But the fish were consistently leaner than the test group caught in 2006, with fish of the same length showing significantly less body mass than in 2006 before dredging commenced. Many were 30 to 40 per cent lighter. What isn’t clear is WHY the fish were leaner.

Media reporting of the findings have omitted a number of relevant things:


  • Only Mullet and Bream were targeted for the post dredging study, in spite of PoMC’s SEES predictive studies assessing 5 species: Mullet, Flathead, Snapper, Bream and Mussels.


  • Insufficient mullet could be caught in the Yarra so the entire sampling regime was limited to 80 unexplainably small bream!


  • We’re also told that as well as being small and very hard to find, many of the fish smelled strange when cut open. If we could find that out, why couldn’t The Age?


  • There is a long and well documented history of Uranium processing, radioactive site contamination and evidence that radioactive waste possibly entering the Yarra from 506 Lorimer St. Fishermen’s’ Bend – adjacent to dredging areas. To this day contaminated waste removed from that site in 1990 accounts for almost 50% of all radioactive contaminated waste still in storage in Australia.


  • Australian Radiation Laboratory, (ARL) in its 1990 decontamination report of the site (p 14 .11) identifies a 380mm drainage pipe that contained large amounts of contaminated material that was possibly used as a waste disposal facility directly into the Yarra River.


  • PoMC was directed to undertake a survey of industries adjacent to the Yarra likely to have contributed to Yarra sediment contamination, for its 2007 SEES. But- PoMC failed to indentify that site – so close to the River- and did not test Yarra sediments for radionuclides.


  • Despite clear evidence of a radiation industry and radioactive pollution occurring on the banks of the Yarra for decades, a search through the PoMC’s EES and S-EES suggests it never happened.




The DHS warning to limit the amount of fish eaten caught from the Yarra is still in place, so shouldn’t finding less and smaller fish be ringing alarm bells? And – if not why not? WHY has Mr. Brumby and his cohorts gone to such lengths to avoid scrutiny on this subject? 


The Age didn’t ask why the fish weren’t analysed for radioactive contamination.

See Age article:

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