Several turtles entangled in ‘death trap’ off Mackay beach
A video of at least seven turtles entangled in a "death trap" on a Mackay beach has sparked fury among marine conservationists.
The footage they say was recorded at Louisa Creek at Hay Point over Saturday and Sunday shows what appears to be a large gillnet dotted with lifeless turtles.
Australian Marine Conservation Society's Simon Miller said the "indiscriminate killer" gillnet was abandoned despite rules dictating they had to be monitored at all times.
"This region is an important conservation area for flatback and green turtles and both species are known to nest on this beach," the Great Barrier Reef Fisheries campaign manager said.
"We're not sure of the fate of these turtles, but the footage shows how easily endangered species like turtles can get entangled in these huge nets, where many will quickly drown."
Mr Miller was now calling for a government review on fishing practices including fitting a camera to every gillnet fishing boat to protect threatened and endangered reef wildlife.
He said the recent carnage suggested the government's report of just 10 turtles being entangled in gillnets across 2019 was inaccurate.
The AMCS estimated the annual tally was closer to more than 1000 turtles.
"Six of the world's seven species of turtle are found on the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Miller said.
"All are listed as vulnerable or endangered under Australian law, which means they are all protected species and fishers must report if they have caught them.
"But we fear fishers are not taking their responsibility to do this seriously enough."
Mr Miller said the government had to set limits on endangered and threatened species bycatch and if they were breached, temporarily close areas to fishing to allow populations to recover.
A Fisheries Queensland spokeswoman said the department was investigating the incident at Hay Point but would not comment while it was in progress.
"There are rules in place for commercial fishers relating to attendance at their fishing nets and reporting of all interactions with protected species, including turtles," the spokeswoman said.
"Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by Fisheries Queensland."
The Daily Mercury also contacted the Department of Environment and Science but did not receive a response by deadline.
The incident comes just days after a Mackay recreational fisher was slapped with a $6396 fine for illegal fishing including possessing four commercial gill nets.