Algal bloom in Gippsland Lakes

A BLUE-green algae bloom is currently affecting some parts of the Gippsland Lakes.

Incident controller Anthony Costigan said weekly monitoring of the Lakes showed high levels of the toxic algae Nodularia spumigena at Marlay Point, Roseneath Park and Hollands Landing.

“The public is warned not to swim in and to avoid any direct contact with Blue-green algae-affected water at these locations,” Mr Costigan said.

“Direct contact with Blue-green algae can cause allergic reactions such as skin rashes or itchiness, sore eyes, ears and nose or if swallowed gastroenteritis, nausea or vomiting.

“People who come in to contact with contaminated water should wash immediately in fresh water and seek medical advice if experiencing illness after contact with affected water.

“Fish can ingest the toxins and then move around the Lakes, so any fish harvested from the Lakes should have gills and guts removed prior to cooking. People should not eat whole fish, shellfish or crustaceans collected from any parts of the Gippsland Lakes.

“In previous blooms, BGA toxins have concentrated in shellfish and crustaceans and have also accumulated in the liver and internal organs of fish. Ingesting BGA toxins can lead to serious illness.

“You can still catch and release, or harvest fish as long as you gill and gut the fish prior to eating.”

Water from the affected water body should not be used for drinking, cooking or other domestic uses. Boiling the affected water will not make it safe for use. For any health issues experienced after contact with BGA affected water please seek medical advice immediately.

Pet owners should prevent pets from drinking or having direct contact with contaminated water.

Recreational use of the water is currently only restricted in affected areas at Marlay Point, Roseneath Park and Hollands Landing. All other parts of the Gippsland Lakes are safe to enjoy the water.

Visitors to the area are advised that they can also enjoy other recreational activities such as bushwalking, boating and sightseeing around the water body.