Contamination warning on Lake Tuross seafood

Posted by Nicole Eckersley on 22nd June 2010

A warning has been issued for seafood from Lake Tuross on NSW’s south coast after what is believed to be creosote oil, a wood preservative, was spilled in the lake.

The oil is believed to have come from a drum, washed into the lake by storms at the end of May.

Lake Tuross is home to a number of oyster farms and is popular with recreational fishers.

The Greater Southern Area Health Service’s Director of Public Health, Tracey Oakman, said skin irritation can occur after contact with creosote, and that any seafood caught in the lake in the last three weeks should be disposed of.

“People should not be concerned if they have already eaten fish or molluscs caught from the lake,” Oakman said.

“As a precaution people should avoid fish or molluscs sourced from Tuross Lake until it has been declared safe and the lake reopened.”

A local boat shed operator told the ABC that the warning was unnecessary, and that the contamination was isolated, but Oakman said it was better to be safe than sorry.

“I think that the thing to recognise is we don’t know what the level of contamination of the fish is because fish can swim the entire lake before they get caught,” she told the ABC.

“So it’s just really a precaution, and I’m sure anyone who ate the fish or who may have fish and can be prevented from getting gastro-enteritis by not eating it, then they’d be grateful for that.”