This dead dugong was found on Witt Island by Clive Last, who is increasing worried by marine animal deaths in Gladstone Harbour.
This dead dugong was found on Witt Island by Clive Last, who is increasing worried by marine animal deaths in Gladstone Harbour. Contributed

Another dugong death

ANOTHER dead dugong has been found in Gladstone Harbour, and the man who found it wants some answers.

Clive Last, who in May discovered a dead dolphin on Turtle Island, was shocked on Friday afternoon when he found the body of a dead dugong on Witt Island.

Mr Last is wary of suggestions marine animal deaths this year can be attributed to boat strikes and net fishing. He said those explanations didn’t match his observations on the harbour.

“I honestly believe it’s either starvation (from damaged seagrass meadows) or there is something in the harbour,” Mr Last said.

“Right now, turtles and dugongs are continually coming up.

“That means there is (something) going on.”

He believed the dolphin he found in May had no injuries to indicate it had been killed by boat strike or fishing nets.

The Department of Environment and Resource Management reported the dolphin’s body was too decomposed to conduct a necropsy.

Mr Last said, once again, the dead dugong’s body showed no sign of injury.

He took five photos and called Queensland Parks and Wildlife.

Mr Last, whose work requires him to spend a lot of time on the harbour, is increasingly disturbed by the trend of dead marine animals in Gladstone Harbour.

“If I don’t see another one after today, I’ll be very happy,” he said.

“I’d also be very happy if someone would come up with the truth about what is really killing them.

“You can’t keep saying it’s boat strike, when I’ve got photos showing it’s not boat strike.”

Mr Last said he was worried the scientific advisory committee’s investigation into the deaths in Gladstone Harbour would take too long to come up with results.

DERM could not be contacted over the weekend.

The list goes on

- The dead dugong found on Witt Island was the latest in a long, mysterious list of marine animal deaths this year.

- Three dead dolphins were found in Gladstone Harbour in May, within two weeks of each other.

- The latest discovery is the fourth dugong found dead in the harbour since May

- More than 40 turtles have washed up dead in the harbour since April. The turtle deaths have been the subject of intense debate between environmentalists and commercial fishermen.

- Marine experts from various organisations have told The Observer seagrass levels, damaged by the floods, are putting stress on the animals.


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