This barramundi, apparently blind, was recently caught in the Calliope River near the NRG Power Station.
This barramundi, apparently blind, was recently caught in the Calliope River near the NRG Power Station. Contributed

Blind barramundi raises questions

DEBATE surrounding the health of Gladstone Harbour and its waterways has taken another bizarre turn.

An anonymous reader has sent The Observer photos of a barramundi caught in the Calliope River.

The fisher who took the photo claims the fish is blind, and the photos appear to show strange form where the eyes should be.

The area is a popular fishing spot as barramundi and other marine wildlife are attracted by the warm water from the NRG Power Station.

The Observer sent the photos to Department of Environment and Resource Management on Friday. A DERM spokesperson said issues of fish health are a matter for Fisheries Queensland.

Fisheries Queensland said it was impossible to determine what was wrong with the fish by looking at a photo.

Meanwhile, Gladstone Fish Market owner Ted Whittingham has told The Observer commercial fishermen operating in Gladstone Harbour were selling him 57% less banana prawns this year, compared with last year. He said he was surprised by the drop-off, since banana prawns usually flourish after a season of heavy rain. "The thing is, what's knocking them over?" he said. "We need to find out."

Health problems for marine animals in Gladstone this year have been blamed on a variety of causes, from the floods damaging seagrass levels to industrial activity. There are no clear answers yet.

A tough yearBlin

Since March, strange things have been happening to marine life in Gladstone Harbour. The recent spate of turtle deaths, 90 in the Gladstone area, as well as a number of dugongs and dolphins, prompted the creation of a Scientific Advisory Committee to investigate the deaths. It has said the most common cause of death for the turtles is starvation, due to a lack of seagrass after the floods.

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