Katherine residents and visitors are being warned to avoid eating locally caught fish.
Fish warnings are the first on the list of locally grown food which people will be advised to avoid or limit consumption.
It follows the release several months ago of a report on the sampling for PFAS which found extensive contamination between the Tindal RAAF Base, directly under Katherine through groundwater and into the Katherine River.
PFAS was contained in fire fighting foams once used in training at the base.
More warnings on the eating of locally grown fruit and vegetables, meat and eggs are expected to follow.
The NT Government has contracted out the development of the “advisories” to Food Standards Australia New Zealand.
Specific advice has been issued from the NT Department of Health on how many serves of fish it is “safe” to eat.
Meetings are behind held in Indigenous communities in the Katherine region this week to pass on the advice.
The Department of Defence is opening another Community Shopfront at the Katherine shopping centre next Tuesday and Wednesday to further explain the advice and the ongoing PFAS response.
The fish warnings stretch from Donkey Camp to the junction, 60km downstream, with Daly River.
Although sampling did reveal PFAS contamination of fish in the Daly, one of the NT’s premier barramundi waterways, the Daly is not included in the warnings.
There are two levels of warnings about eating local fish.
One is for adults and children over six years of age.
The other is for children under six, having a lower acceptable exposure to PFAS.
Whether it is barramundi or bream matters on how much you can safely eat.
The experts rank it on the serve of fish which they calculate to a hand size of 150 grams.
So adults can eat two serves of barra per week.
For other species like mullet, the recommendation is for one serve a month.
“Fish can contain PFAS and other chemicals and metals which may be harmful to your health if eaten in large amounts,” the advice says.
For children under 6 (serves set at 75 grams), the advice is for one serve of barra per week, two serves of bream per month and to avoid fish like mullet, tarpon and grunter altogether.
“The risk to tourists and visitors who may occasionally eat fish from the affected area is considered to be low.
“Local fishers, anglers and Aboriginal people who consume aquatic species from affected areas frequently and over a long period of time are most at risk at being affected by PFAS.”
The authorities continue to advise there is no conclusive evidence PFAS causes any health affects to humans.
“It is advised that exposure is limited as a precaution.”