The toxic algae identified in the Swan River by the Department of Health is unlikely to present a serious health risk, according to UWA Professor.
The Department of Health issued a report on Wednesday highlighting the risk of toxic algae poisoning to fish, crabs and shellfish.
The toxin in the algae is absorbed as part of their feeding process and accumulates over time.
People were warned not to eat fish and shellfish from the river.
Cooperative Research Centre for Water Sensitive Cities
regional executive director Anas Ghadouani, says the algae spread doesn’t appear to be extreme and is the result of a bloom in the area.
“It’s most likely that the heat and light exposure over the hot summer has generated this bloom that we have now.”
When asked about the paralysis risks to those who eat fish from the affected area, Professor Ghadouani was confident that the risk was minimal.
“We tend to err on the side of caution when these things happen, but the overall health of the river is in a reasonable condition,” he said.
Professor Ghadouani said the species of fish or shellfish that could be affected by the toxic algae were not typically for human consumption and the likelihood of poisoning causing paralysis was very low.
“There are more things in the sea than toxic algae that can kill you,” he said.
Swimmers were also unlikely to experience illness from toxic algae, but may experience mild indigestion if they consumed a large amount of river water.
Professor Ghadouani said it was unlikely to affect the wildlife, including those that fed on the fish and shellfish.