Local seafood found fit for human consumption

FEEL like seafood for dinner? Residents can have full confidence in any local seafood after test results were released yesterday.

Gladstone seafood retailers were encouraged by the initial results which showed the seafood tested was fit for human consumption.

Gladstone Fish Market proprietor Simon Whittingham said the test outcome was very positive for the seafood industry.

'It's very promising for our inner harbour seafood lines,' Mr Whittingham said.

However Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said the green light had not yet been given.

'The Food Incidents Response Group will continue its systematic testing and, in addition, all seafood products brought into the Gladstone Harbour will be tested before being given the all-clear,' Mr Mulherin said.

However this comment concerned seafood retailer Mr Whittingham who questioned whether all seafood needed testing, given the majority was caught outside the harbour.

'We're very fortunate that it (the spill) was kept high in the harbour,' Mr Whittingham said.

Until the final test results came back and the all clear given, Mr Whittingham said local fishermen, particularly those who normally fished the inner harbour, would have to turn to other fishing grounds.

'The guys are just going to have to go elsewhere until the green light is given,' Mr Whittingham said.

Mr Mulherin said the prawns were extracted from three sites, within one kilometre of the spill and in an area where regular prawn trawling took place.

The public health executive director Dr Linda Selvey said some chemicals had been found in the seafood.

'Very low levels of contamination of hydrocarbons (chemicals that would be found in fuel oils) were found in prawn samples taken from the Gladstone Harbour,' Dr Selvey said.

'... These low levels do not present a risk to human health.'

The majority of the cleanup has been completed and interstate personnel will leave Gladstone today.

Central Queensland Ports Authority will take over the clean-up, which will today focus on Spinnaker Beach, overseen by Maritime Safety Queensland.

Global Peace was expected to start loading coal late yesterday and leave the harbour when loading was completed.

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