Fishing in and around Port Pirie

Recreational fishing restrictions apply in designated locations in Port Pirie waters because some seafood species contain high levels of heavy metals – particularly lead and cadmium. These species are not safe to consume, especially in waters south of the Weerona Island Boat ramp including First Creek, Second Creek and the harbour area of the Port Pirie River.

Based on the findings of the risk assessment report, permanent restrictions on some seafood species from designated locations apply.

These restrictions do not apply to commercial or recreational fishing outside of these locations.

Designated locations

The designated locations of the fishing closure are:

  • Zone 1: south and west of the Weeroona Island Boat Ramp including First Creek, Second Creek and the Port Pirie River
  • Zone 2: Port Germein area extending north and west of the Weeroona Island Boat Ramp

Follow the directions of the Port Pirie fishing closure notice issued by the Department of Primary Industries and Regions.

Public health advice

The following advice has been issued by SA’s Chief Public Health Officer:

  • No one should eat* crabs and mussels taken from Zone 1 or razorfish taken from Zone 1 or Zone 2 because they contain high levels of lead and cadmium which are toxic heavy metals.
  • Young children (under 5 years of age) and people who are pregnant or planning pregnancy should not eat * any seafood taken from Zone 1, Zone 2 or Barrow Beach (including species not tested in the 2020 survey**) because it contains high levels of lead and cadmium that are harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of unborn babies and young children.
  • People who are not pregnant and children aged 5 years and above should:
    • Be aware that all seafood tested in the designated areas and Barrow Beach contain some level of heavy metals and this source can be avoided by eating commercially produced seafood instead of recreationally caught seafood.
    • Be aware of exposure to heavy metals in your occupation or some chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or kidney disease which may be worsened by exposure to lead and cadmium. If these risk factors apply you should use caution to:
      • monitor your metal intake with periodic blood lead testing if you regularly eat fish caught in Zone 1 (more than twice a week) or razorfish from Barrow Beach (more than once a week)
      • minimise or avoid eating* fish, crabs and mussels from Zone 2 (and species not tested in the 2020 survey**).

*Cooking does not reduce lead or other metals in seafood. Cooking practices including baking and grilling whole finfish, cooking whole crabs in shells and boiling finfish bones and heads, may transfer metals to edible portions (meat) or soups and stock during food preparation (freezing, thawing and cooking) and contribute to the overall ingestion of metals from eating seafood caught in these waters.

** The metal levels in edible portions of species not tested in the 2020 survey such as squid or octopus are currently unknown but historical research shows these species can accumulate metals in a similar way to species tested in 2020. 

Guide to assist in eating seafood caught in the Port Pirie River estuary and surrounding waters 

A summary table (PDF 161KB) has been developed which details the seafood types, designated areas and recommendations about consumption by young children, pregnant people and other adults. This guide has been designed to be printed out and kept with you when fishing and has been based on the report findings.

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