2017 March – Hazelwood Pondage (Victoria) – PFAS

Hazelwood Power Station closure threatens barramundi

March 31 2017 The Weekly Times


UPDATE: ANGLERS are being warned to limit the amount of barramundi they eat from the Latrobe Valley’s Hazelwood Pondage.

The Victorian Environment Protection Authority said adults should eat no more than 150 grams per week, and children no more than 75g per fortnight, of the barramundi the pondage was stocked with last year.

When the fishery opened in December, the State Government said “an independent human health food safety risk assessment found that the consumption of barramundi is safe at recommended levels of 2-3 serves per week”.

But this week, the EPA warned that the standards relating to PFAS — a group of chemicals that include PFOS, PFOA and PGHxS — had been revised.

“People who have eaten Barramundi over the short five-month period since the fishery opened are not considered to be at risk,” the EPA said.

There have been fears the barramundi may not survive in the pondage after the Hazelwood Power Station — which heated the pondage — closed last week

A Fisheries Victoria spokesman said it would closely monitor the fishery and was prepared in case the barramundi did not survive.

“There have been no reports of dead fish at this stage and contingency plans are in place to collect fish if needed,” the spokesman said.

“We remain confident that Hazelwood pondage will continue to operate a viable fishery, hosting fish well into the future, maintaining the popularity of recreational fishing in the Latrobe Valley.”

The Weekly Times understands the University of Melbourne is working with Fisheries Victoria to explore the use of geothermal water to maintain the barramundi.

Premier Daniel Andrews has now been dared to eat a barramundi from the Hazelwood pondage.

Greens MP Sam Hibbins called on the premier to prove the barramundi were safe enough to eat.

“The Government should have invested in a boxed set of The Simpsons before spending 150,000 taxpayer dollars on this vote fishing expedition. Blinky the Three-Eyed Fish taught us that fish don’t do well in power station cooling ponds,” Mr Hibbins said.

“Ignoring the experts is one thing, but the premier clearly didn’t learn from Mr Burns’ political misfortune either,” he said.

Comment has been sought from Mr Andrews’ office.

Native to the warm waters of Australia’s far north, 1600 barramundi were put into the power station’s cooling pond in April last year at a cost of $150,000.

Some anglers suspect the 7000 barramundi released into the recreational waterway just last year only have about a month to live, the Herald Sun reports.

It follows the shutdown of all eight coal-fuelled burners that kept the water at higher temperatures.

Hundreds of supporters were at the site near Morwell today as the last workers clocked off for the last time.