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Alexandrium algal bloom caution

Alexandrium algal bloom caution
Following two consecutive years of significant Alexandrium algal blooms impacting the Swan and Canning Rivers, the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Department of Health (DoH) are adopting a proactive management approach prior to the opening of the blue swimmer crab season in the Swan and Canning rivers on 1 December 2020.

A new harmful algae caution sign has been installed at popular jetties, boat ramps and fishing locations around the Swan and Canning rivers. The sign advises recreational fishers not to eat mussels and  to clean any blue swimmer crabs caught in the Swan and Canning rivers by removing the head, guts, mustard and gills prior to freezing, cooking and eating.

DPIRD and DBCA will run an ongoing Alexandrium education campaign and have created some Frequently Asked Questions, a brochure and a video to help inform recreational fishers and the general public of this public health issue. Alexandrium does not affect swimming and other aquatic activities in the rivers but you are advised not to swim in discoloured or smelly water.

What is Alexandrium?

Alexandrium is a group of microalgae that has been previously detected at elevated levels in the Swan and Canning rivers.

It has impacted waterways and fisheries around the globe, and is expected to be an annual occurrence in the Swan and Canning rivers.

These algae can produce Paralytic Shellfish Toxins (PSTs) that can impact mussels and crabs. At worst, poisoning by PSTs can be fatal to humans and there is no antidote, with treatment being supportive care and artificial respiration. A meal of 3-4 whole crabs can cause symptoms.

How can I reduce my risk?
To reduce your risk of ingesting PSTs:

• do not eat mussels from the Swan and Canning rivers
• clean any blue swimmer crabs caught in the Swan and Canning rivers by removing the head, guts, mustard and gills prior to freezing, cooking and eating

How can I find more information?
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) and the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have developed an ongoing Alexandrium education program to alert the public and recreational fishers to the dangers of PSTs.

More information is available in the following publications available for download at the bottom of this page:
• 'How to clean blue swimmer crabs' brochure
• Frequently asked questions
Alexandrium video

Look out for new 'harmful algae' caution signs that have been installed at key Swan Canning Riverpark locations including jetties, traffic bridges, boat ramps and popular fishing locations.

For further information on Alexandrium, please contact DoH on 9222 2000 or refer to the web pages provided on the DBCA and DPIRD websites.

Volunteers needed for new Reel it in bins

With the recent installation of Reel it in bins in City of Joondalup and City of Wanneroo, we are now searching for enthusiastic local volunteers to adopt-a-bin and help keep our wildlife safe and rivers and coastal areas clean.

By registering as a volunteer for the Reel it in campaign, you will be provided with the training and equipment needed to audit a local fishing line bin. This opportunity provides a great way to care for and look after your local environment.

If you are interested in adopting a bin and want more information head to our Reel it in page. To register your interest please email us at

Point Roe Embankment Stabilisation Project

DBCA and the Town of Mosman Park (the Town) collaborated to fund the Point Roe Embankment Stabilisation Project in 2019. The project involved bioengineering, revegetation and weed control to stabilise and protect the previously degraded embankment. Approximately 400m2 of steep embankment has been restored, improving stability, ecological function and amenity for the surrounding community. The Town will continue with weed control and in-fill planting to ensure the success of the project site. The collaboration between DBCA and the Town continues at Point Roe with a new foreshore restoration project and the construction of a bird hide currently underway.

Figure 1 & 2. Bioengineering and revegetation at the Point Roe Embankment Stabilisation Project

7 new coastal Reel it in bins installed in Joondalup and Wanneroo

The Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo are the latest local government authorities to join the Reel it in campaign aimed at preventing discarded fishing line and other harmful waste from ending up in our marine environment and posing a threat to wildlife.

Seven new fishing line bins have been installed at the following popular coastal fishing locations:

Joondalup (3 x bins)

• Ocean Reef boat harbour (complementing the fish cleaning station and de-rigging areas)
• Burns beach
• Marmion foreshore

Wanneroo (4 x bins)
• End of Alexandra View (Mindarie)
• Groyne 2, Groyne 3 and Groyne 4 running parallel with Ocean Drive (Quinns Rocks)


Clarkson Reserve Foreshore update

The Clarkson Reserve Foreshore Stabilisation and Remediation project, located upstream of the Maylands boat ramp, is a collaboration between the DBCA and the City of Bayswater.

This Riverbank funded project was awarded $166,750 in 2017 with a total anticipated cost of $332,335. The combination of a reclaimed foreshore and contaminants made the project complex with increased environmental and project risks. These risks were identified, and mitigation measures were included in the detail foreshore restoration design that addressed shoreline protection, strengthening the vegetation link with the nearby samphire wetlands and enhancing amenity values at this popular location.

The project involved re-grading of  approximately 150m of river bank; placement of armour rock at intervals and planting of native vegetation; construction of two limestone headlands; removal and disposal of existing pyritic cinders from the river's edge; construction of a lime trench for treatment of leachates from cinders located beyond the site extent; and installation of commemorative plaques on one of the limestone headlands.

The tragic drowning of two boys near the site prior to the initial commencement of works resulted in the project being postponed. Practical completion was reached on 9 July 2020 and a smoking ceremony has since been held at the site with representatives from the deceased’s family, the City of Bayswater, DBCA, consultants and contractors that worked on the site in attendance.