News and updates

PFAS - EPA updates East Gippsland consumption warnings

2 Aug 2018

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has added to its advice about fish consumption from the Heart Morass area to include the Latrobe River in East Gippsland following additional testing undertaken by the Department of Defence in the Sale area.

While duck hunters and fishers are still advised not to consume ducks, fish or eel taken from the Heart Morass, new testing shows that fish and eel taken from the Dowd Morass have much lower PFAS concentrations and consumption should be limited.

The advice, based on new test results from Department of Defence, EPA and Victorian Fisheries Authority, also extends to fish and eels taken from the Lower Latrobe River in the area bounded by Heart Morass.

The updated advice from EPA at (2 August 2018) is for recreational hunters and fishers:

  • Do not consume ducks from Heart and Dowd Morass areas
  • Do not consume fish taken from Heart Morass
  • Limit consumption of fish and eel from Dowd Morass to 2-3 serves per week
  • Limit to one serve per month of eel from the Latrobe River bounded by Heart Morass,
  • Do not consume more than one serve of carp per week caught from the Latrobe River bounded by Heart Morass.

“It’s important to note that the advice does not extend to recreational fishing of redfin, yellow belly, mullet or estuary perch from the River,” said Dr Andrea Hinwood, EPA Chief Environmental Scientist.

“EPA continues to take a precautionary approach to this issue even though latest research from Government has not established a direct link to disease in humans.

“Where human health is concerned, EPA will always err on the side of caution and given the presence of high concentrations of PFAS in previous tests on Heart Morass fish and ducks, and the presence of high concentrations in the environment, our advice has been updated,” said Dr Hinwood.

PFAS are a group of man-made substances, many of which are in widespread and common use including in historic firefighting foams and in home products like non-stick pans and carpet treatments. PFAS can persist in humans for many years.  

EPA is the lead agency in an interagency group developing a comprehensive statewide survey of biota including nomadic and resident ducks and the presence of these chemicals in different parts of the environment.

Testing has already begun at more than 20 locations around the state to gauge PFAS levels. Results will take some time to collect, collate and review but will be released as soon as they are verified and available.

Page last updated on 2 Aug 2018