NSW Food Authority gives Nambucca River all clear

Nambucca River reopens - oyster farmers relieved

Nambucca River oyster farmers were treated to some good news on Tuesday evening with the NSW Food Authority issuing the 'all clear' for the river to reopen.

The river had been closed to oyster harvesting since June 10, following routine tests that detected an algal bloom of Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PST).

Oyster farmers Nicolas and Delphine Tessier were out on the river first thing yesterday morning, harvesting to meet the holiday demand.

"Even though it is the low season there is a lot of demand," Delphine said.

"The condition of the oysters is good. We send them to the retailer in Coffs who distributes them to the restaurants.

"Unfortunately we have missed a lot of the holidays but at least we are now open."

She said that after the fires, the floods, corona-virus and now the toxin, she was hopeful things would start turning around.

"That's enough I think!".

A spokesperson for the NSW Food Authority said the latest test results had revealed no detectable level of the toxin.

"Algal blooms can occur anywhere along the coast and are normally the result of the surge of nutrient rich deep ocean water onto the continental shelf and can often be seen after rainfall events in estuaries and in river mouths," the spokeswoman said.

She said previous algal blooms in NSW tended not to produce high toxin concentrations not to be present for prolonged periods.

"Most blooms seem to disperse within 1-2 weeks. In the past 12 months (from 1 July 2019) there have been 23 closures of shellfish harvest areas in NSW due to algal blooms, of which five were due to a positive biotoxin result."

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