Something fishy at mine

YEARS of drunken fishermen repeatedly trespassing on a salt mine at Port Alma has forced Queensland's biggest salt producing company to call in police to deal with the rebel anglers.

But, according to Morning Bulletin columnist Scott Lynch, the fishermen may simply be searching for an elusive, possibly mythical, giant fish.

A Cheetham Salt employee, who works at the Bajool salt mine, said fishermen and their families had been trespassing on Cheetham land for more than 25 years.

The man, who would not be named in public, said the trespassing fishermen often got drunk, leaving beer and rum cans strewn across the company's land.

He was not only worried about the effect of over-fishing the company's ponds, which could affect the salt production process, but also for the safety of the anglers at the salt mine site.

"For years we've had people breaking in, bolt-cutting locks on gates to gain access, and boating up the creek to land to fish in the creek and in the ponds," he said.

"About three or four weeks ago I followed a trail of beer cans to find two men completely rotten drunk, no shirts or shoes on, fishing on our land."

The company placed a public notice in this newspaper on Thursday, which said all previous permission to fish at the pond or on company land was now revoked, and warning that anyone caught trespassing on the land would be dealt with through the legal system.

"We placed the notice after talking to the police that to deal with these guys, we have to first put out a public notice that trespassers will be dealt with," the staffer said.

"We've got signs up all over the place, but they don't really take any notice. If nothing else, we are running a salt mine here and this could pose serious safety risks to the fishermen - it's just gotten to the point that we're over it."

The staffer said he understood local professional fisherman had also begun a turf war over who had the right to fish in the area.

"I've never been on their land, but you do hear things that there is this huge fish in the ponds there, you hear about people coming back from there that have caught massive barramundi and other fish," Mr Lynch said.

"In the creeks nearby, I've definitely seen two professional fishermen raiding each other's crab pots.

"It could be a bit of an urban myth, but certainly, I've always known it was private property, and I think that's pretty clear."

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