(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Scientists say fish in the waters west of Sydney Harbour Bridge could be contaminated with health threatening industrial pollutants.

Yet, a study shows that anglers continue to fish there despite multi-lingual signs warning of cancer-causing dioxins that are being washed out from Homebush Bay.

According to ABC News, the first comprehensive study of how Sydney residents use the harbour has pinpointed fishing “hot spots” west of the bridge, where the contamination was noted.

Deceived by the harbour’s clean-looking waters, up to 20 boatloads of fishermen and between 15 and 20 anglers could be found fishing in each of the hotspots every day.

Professor Emma Johnston from the University of New South Wales said the pollution around Homebush Bay area has been around for many years.

“It’s not going to kill you straight away, but the fish tissue contamination in Sydney Harbour was high enough for us to ban commercial fishing and to severely restrict recreational fishing,” Emma added.

Even though there was significant remediation work in the harbour over the past five years to remove the toxic sediment, there has not been a recent test to review the current dioxin levels in both the sediment and fish.

Emma was calling on the government to fund testing, which could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

ABC News spoke to several anglers but they were not native English speakers and did not appear to be worried about contamination dangers.

A member of the study team, Dr Luke Hedge from the Sydney Institute of Marine Science shared that there could be cultural and language differences, which the Sydney institute of Marine Science is keen in looking into.

While the safest approach is to avoid eating fish caught west of the bridge, authorities said the risk to the average consumer is low, but anyone worried about consuming seafood from the Harbour or Parramatta River should consult a doctor.


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