Risk from eating fish from the Arowhenua Rohe in perspective

Press Release – Canterbury District Health Board

A recent report by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) entitled “Risk assessment of contaminants in kai from the Arowhenua rohe – Summary report” may have caused some unnecessary alarm ahead of the 2011 Christmas holidays. Putting risk from eating fish from the Arowhenua Rohe into perspective

A recent report by the National Institute for Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) entitled “Risk assessment of contaminants in kai from the Arowhenua rohe – Summary report” may have caused some unnecessary alarm ahead of the 2011 Christmas holidays.

“Although the report is factually correct as you might expect from an organisation as respected as NIWA, I wanted to be sure the report and the extent of the risk from manmade contaminants, heavy metals and other toxins, was taken in clear perspective,” says Dr Alistair Humphrey, Canterbury District Health Board’s medical officer of health.

“Ahead of the Christmas holidays when many people will plan on going fishing, I wanted to be clear that there is only a significant risk where an individual consumes more than one meal of fish (including eel/tuna) each month from an affected river for the whole of an average lifetime.”

“While we, as a community, should be monitoring, minimising and mitigating contamination of our waterways, people should not be unduly concerned about occasionally eating fish caught in river catchments in affected parts of South Canterbury,” says Dr Humphrey.

The rivers most affected and described within NIWA’s report include the Waihi and Opihi rivers as well as the Temuka River below Pleasant Point.

ENDS

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