Science and the Control of Information: An Australian Case Study
Sharon Beder, ‘Science and the Control of Information: An Australian Case Study’, The Ecologist, vol. 20, July/August 1990, pp136-140
The recent events in Sydney indicate a route of communication to the public from the scientists should be developed. This may reduce the “scare” from the press and shield the fishing industry from impacts produced by false or inaccurate media reporting.
However the two studies that were the basis for media stories were reported accurately and did not overstate the results. The first study, which triggered the media attention, was the 1987 Malabar Bioaccumulation Study. The results of this study are shown in Table 1 & 2. The Sydney Morning Herald reported the results as follows:
FISH OFF SYDNEY BEACHES POLLUTED
Secret tests on fish caught near Sydney’s main sewage outfall at Malabar have found dangerous levels of pesticides, up to 120 times above the recommended safety limits…
The red morwong had average concentrations of BHC of 1.22 parts per million, with the blue groper showing 0.20 parts per million. For HPTE, the red morwong showed average levels of 2.60 parts per million, with the blue groper 0.25 parts per million.
There were also traces of dieldrin in both fish, with the red morwong being slightly over the recommended maximum levels.