Eating Fish Safely

​​​Shellfish

Recreationally harvested wild shellfish

The Department of Health warns against collecting and eating wild shellfish in Tasmania.  Read their Standard Warning about wild shellfish.

There is always a risk of illness after consuming wild shellfish harvested where water quality is poor. This is because water quality influences shellfish quality. For example, it is always unsafe to eat wild shellfish collected near:
  • marinas or other places where boats discharge waste;
  • sewage, industrial or stormwater outfalls;
  • areas with septic tanks; and
  • places affected by recent heavy rain.
You can get gastro if you eat wild shellfish like oysters, mussels, clams, pipis, cockles and wedge shells.

Algal blooms and biotoxins

Fish illustration by Peter GouldthorpeSome species of naturally occurring algae that produce toxins have been detected in eastern and southern Tasmanian waters over the past few years.

These algae can produce toxins that accumulate in shellfish that feed on the algae. Humans can ingest these naturally occurring toxins by eating shellfish such as oysters, mussels, scallops and clams.  See the Department of Public Health's warning on shellfish poisoning

Abalone, scallop roes and the intestines and livers of rock lobster can also be affected when toxic algal blooms are present. These may cause fishery closures - see Biotoxin Fishery Alerts.

 'Do Not East Wild Shellfish' warning signs are displayed at popular boat ramps and jetties along Tasmania's north east, east and south east coastlines when algal blooms are present.

Derwent and Tamar Estuaries

Do not consume shellfish from the Derwent or Tamar Estuaries including Ralphs Bay as they contain high levels of heavy metals.  More information from the Department of Health's Derwent Estuary Fish Limits and the Derwent Estuary Program.

Scalefish

Derwent Estuary

  • Do not eat breamSee Derwent Estuary Fish Limits for advice including not eating bream from the Derwent Estuary and limiting consumption of flathead and other fish. Heavy metal contamination affects the type and amount of seafood you should eat from this area.
  • More information about the health of the Derwent River is available from the Derwent Estuary Program website.

Commercially grown shellfish

Seafood in shops and restaurants is safe to eat because the Shellfish Market Access Program (ShellMAP) monitors the safety of commercially grown shellfish.

Unusual signs in wild fish

Spotted something unusual in your catch, for example, black marks in flathead fillets?  For advice what to do when this happens, go to the Centre for Aquatic Animal Health and Vaccines​ page for more information.
 

More information

Phone the Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738


    Hotline

    Fishwatch Report illegal fishing

    0427 655 557

    What to report? arrow button

    Contact us

    Recreational Fishing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    Hobart TAS 7000

    Phone: (03) 6165 3233, 1300 720 647

    Email: fishing.enquiries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: commercial.fisheries@nre.tas.gov.au

    Commercial Fisheries Licensing

    Level 3, 134 Macquarie St

    GPO Box 44

    Phone: (03) 6165 3000, 1300 368 550

    Email: fishing.licensing@nre.tas.gov.au