Queensland fishermen claim toxic risk still exists in Gladstone fish

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 7th October 2011

FishDespite continuing concerns by local fishermen about the safety of fishing in Gladstone Harbour, central Queensland, a three-week fishing ban previously imposed on the harbour by the Queensland Government was lifted today.

The ban had been originally imposed after locally-caught fish showed signs of illness. At the same time, local fishermen were also reported unwell after handling these fish.

Queensland Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace claimed today the results of a water quality analysis and fish testing had discounted the potential for a food safety or human health issue.

Minister Wallace said, “Fish sampling conducted by Fisheries Queensland indicated that the number of fish exhibiting lesions or cloudy eyes is decreasing. Test results confirmed the cause of the symptoms in the affected fish to be Red Spot Disease and a parasite endemic in Queensland. These conditions occur occasionally in Queensland and other parts of Australia when fish are stressed.”

Queensland Environment Minister Vicky Darling today said that testing over the past year had shown little change in water quality, and claimed that water quality was not a factor in fish conditions.

However, the LNP Opposition’s fisheries spokesperson Mark Robinson said more caution should have been applied before lifting the ban. He said, “Local fishermen are shocked by the announcement that there is no human health problem, or that it’s ‘just down to a parasite’.” He said that the community also still needs to know what is causing this fish disease.