Thousands of dead fish wash ashore at Moore Park Beach
MOORE Park Beach locals have been left devastated after a walk down to their beloved beach led to the grim discovery of thousands of dead fish along the shore.
Resident Joanna Nicolson said she foresaw there might be some dead fish after hearing trawlers along the coast but she never expected there would be so many.
"I came back down with a bucket with my son and I did a little experiment of how many there were," Ms Nicolson said.
"There is 20km of beach and in about 50m I could fill up a 6kg bucket of fish and that's just on the shoreline.
"There were more in the water when I went for a swim and some are buried in the sand, there's just a horrific amount of fish."
"The trawlers have been coming here for years but they have gotten closer as the years go on and every time they do you have fish washing up but the amount this year is just devastating, I have never seen so many."
Ms Nicolson said the trawlers were moving closer to shore and then moving back out.
"They are that close you can see them standing on their boats doing their work, you shouldn't be able to see their hat and the colour of their T-shirt."
"I fish but if you handline you have to throw back something that's under 24cm there are all these requirements but these fish are killed in the nets and just get thrown out to sea."
Another Moore Park Beach resident, Alan Corbett said he went down to the beach yesterday and was also shocked by the sheer number of fish.
"Yesterday we had about five big trawlers that I could count sweeping up and down," Mr Corbett said.
"From the trawler point of view, this is not a good look for them for people to see thousands of dead fish or bycatch.
"Maybe we are seeing part of the ugly side of the industry, maybe the winds and tides have caused it to wash up and this is common practice with thousands of fish dumped as part of bycatch.
"One person said he had counted 481 fish in a 100m stretch."
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said it was worrying to see so many dead fish on local beaches.
"The terrible destruction seen on beaches around the region is distressing but we have unfortunately seen this before, and I know our communities want to see sensible solutions," Mr Bennett said.
"The Department of Fisheries must take a lead in the investigations and find solutions, as these continuous fish kill events on our beaches must be resolved.
"Our local commercial and recreational fishing industry is vital, there is no doubt about it, but it is also important that the policy environment is reflective of the realities of continual fish kills, and surveillance must be improved."
A spokesman from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries said they could not confirm if the dead fish were bycatch from the trawlers but said they were investigating the matter.
"Fisheries Queensland is investigating whether dead fish on Moore Park Beach are discarded bycatch from commercial fishing trawlers," the spokesman said.
"Local trawl operators are being contacted and encouraged to sort their catch further offshore to reduce bycatch washing up on beaches."
The spokesman said rules and regulations were in place for the trawling industry and regular compliance checks were done.
"Trawl operators are only allowed to take certain fish species; this prevents targeting of species that are taken in other fisheries (e.g. commercial and recreational line fisheries)," they said.
"Bycatch can threaten some species if it is unregulated.
"However the trawl fishery in Queensland is well managed, and reduces the volume of bycatch through bycatch reduction devices, which are mandated under fisheries regulation.
"Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol conducts regular compliance activities related to commercial fishing operations, including monitoring vessel tracking data to identify fishers operating in the area and ensuring they are complying with regulations."