Gladstone harbour dredging could have caused fish disease

October 20, 2011
Gladstone Harbour, Queensland.

The Queensland government lifted a ban on fishing in and around Gladstone Harbour on October 6, but controversy over diseased fish goes on.

Writing in the October 19 Courier Mail, environment reporter Bryan Williams said: “The mystery of the Gladstone fish disease outbreak continues, with scientists focusing on a parasitic flatworm and about 300 tonnes of Barramundi that spilled into the Boyne River last summer from Awoonga Dam.

“Many of these fish have since become infected with the common saltwater parasite.

“Fishermen have had to dump up to 80% of Barramundi catches over past weeks because of disease and discolourations.

“They believe the disease problem is more likely related to a 46 million cubic metre harbour dredging program sullying the water.”

After about 25 fishermen had earlier reported infections from harbour water and fish were found with red spot disease and parasites, the state government closed Gladstone Harbour to fishing in September.

Queensland Seafood Industry Association president Michael Gardner said professional fishermen wanted more tests conducted in Gladstone, the October 9 Courier Mail reported.

Gardner said the wider industry had already suffered a drop in demand since the Gladstone ban was instituted, with the uncertainty hurting the whole industry as consumers turn away from seafood.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.