What is the issue
Elevated levels of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria) toxins, above the recommended health guideline levels have been detected in whole fish taken from the Gippsland Lakes.
Who is at risk
All individuals who consume crabs, prawns, mussels or whole fish taken from the Gippsland Lakes at the current time are potentially affected.
Symptoms and transmission
Although immediate symptoms from ingestion of affected whole fish are very unlikely, if present these may be non-specific and related to liver function such as fatigue, abdominal pain or jaundice. Of greater concern are more chronic health effects that may occur from accumulation of toxin from consumption of whole fish, such as kidney or liver damage, effects on reproductive organs or fetal development, and a potentially increased risk of cancer.
Prevention and treatment
Recreational anglers are being advised to remove and discard the gut and gills from fish prior to cooking. Fish should not be cooked whole as this will re-distribute toxins from the internal organs to the fish flesh, making it unsafe for consumption. Crabs, prawns, mussels or whole fish obtained from affected areas should not be consumed.
Signs have been erected at key recreational access sites around the Gippsland Lakes to advise the public not to consume affected seafood. Media releases have also been issued.