The dead dolphin found on Turtle Island.
The dead dolphin found on Turtle Island. Submitted

Fishers disgusted at deaths blame

THE commercial fishing sector is “disgusted” with the attitudes of local councillors using commercial fishermen as “bait” for blame over dead marine life.

Representing the sector, commercial fisherman Luke Hargreaves yesterday said he was flabbergasted at the “complete ignorance” of some Rockhampton regional councillors blaming commercial fishing for killing marine life which had washed up on Capricorn Coast and also Gladstone beaches.

Mr Hargreaves was responding to a story which ran in The Morning Bulletin’s Saturday June 18 edition, in which Cr Brett Svendsen said there should be a full inquiry into the dead marine life.

This also comes after a loggerhead turtle was found washed up on Emu Park’s Fisherman’s Beach late last week.

In the story, Cr Svendsen said there was more trawling in Keppel Bay then even before, and questioned if there was a link between increased commercial fishing and the deaths.

Mr Hargreaves said Cr Svendsen and the regional council should “lead an investigation” into why the animals are dying.

“There is no way turtles would have been killed by trawlers, they are all fitted with TEDs (turtle excluder devices),” he said.

“The commercial sector would be happy to fund autopsies. We are sick of being blamed for this.”

Cr Svendsen said he was not blaming commercial fishermen; he just wanted answers.

Through council, Cr Svendsen has asked the environmental committee to request a report from the State Government on why sea animals, especially turtles, are dying at an unusual rate.

Cr Svendsen said he had seen a dead turtle almost every time he went to Svendsen’s Beach.