30 May 2022

Pungent problem in Eden as clean up of 50 tonnes of sunken salmon nears completion

| Albert McKnight
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Sunken trawler in Eden

The trawler was carrying 50 tonnes of salmon when it sank in Eden. Photo: Fire and Rescue NSW.

A sunken trawler and tens of tonnes of decomposing salmon has created a pungent problem in the South Coast town of Eden.

Work has been underway to safely remove about 50 tonnes of the fish waste from the trawler that sank at the Eden Wharf in April and the operation is getting closer to completion.

“Some residents have apparently noticed an odour in recent days following the re-floating of the trawler in preparation for a salvage operation,” a Bega Valley Shire Council spokesperson said.

Polaris Marine salvage and project manager Leon Smith said retrieving 50 tonnes of fish had its challenges.

He said his team had been called in after the initial failed salvage efforts and the fish waste had become more degraded and challenging to get rid of in the meantime.

READ ALSO Boat with 50 tonnes of fish on board sinks in Eden

Mr Smith said his team had been waiting on specialised vacuum bins to start removing the fish, which would then be taken to Lucas Heights for disposal; then all the equipment would have to be sterilised.

He said the fish had to be removed before the trawler could be taken to the Eden slipway, once a suitable space opened up for it, but his team was used to working on vessels and that side of the operation did not present any challenges they were not prepared for.

On Friday (27 May), he said the bins had arrived, two holds had already been emptied and he expected to have it “all done and dusted” with all of the fish removed by Sunday afternoon.

He said because the fish had degraded so much it was most likely unsuitable for use as fertiliser as he had initially hoped, and would just be disposed of.

“I think it’s too far gone,” he said.

READ ALSO Cranes and barges signal commencement of Eden wave attenuator construction

In April the trawler had reportedly spilled some diesel, but the fuel was contained by a ring of absorbent booms deployed by Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Water Police.

It could have been a disaster according to Fire and Rescue NSW superintendent Adam Dewberry.

“Luckily, before it went under, firefighters with the crew of the vessel secured the liquid in the hull,” he said.

“It was carrying about 5000 litres of fuel and about 2000 litres of other oil.”

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