Williamtown toxic truth: Hunter River fishing bans lifted

The Hunter’s prawn trawlers went back to work this week for the first time since agreeing to an indefinite ban on working the Hunter River in November last year. The ban – dubbed a gentleman’s agreement – came as a result of contamination from the Williamtown RAAF Base. It followed state government bans on fishing in Fullerton Cove and the upper Tilligerry Creek, and was seen as necessary to protect the region’s seafood reputation. Then in October this year, to the surprise of a lot of fishers, the bans were lifted. The Department of Primary Industries issued a statement saying the public could “be confident that seafood for sale is safe to eat”, and the Newcastle Fishing Cooperative began accepting local produce again. “We were shocked,” Hewitt says on his trawler, named Junior. “We turned up to that meeting thinking, you know, they were going tell us whether or not they would buy our boats off us.  “Then the first thing the DPI guy said was ‘full opening of the river from this date’.  “Everyone just stayed quiet. It was unreal. Even all the crazy fishermen who I thought would abuse them just said nothing.” Nice photo gallery, Read the rest here 19:50

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