Minister for Fisheries Craig Wallace
Minister for Fisheries Craig Wallace Claudia Baxter/Queensland Times

Wallace backs water testing

MINISTER for Fisheries Craig Wallace dove into the deep end of Gladstone's controversial fishing ban yesterday.

With emotions running high since the ban on fishing was announced 11 days ago, Mr Wallace met politicians, commercial fishermen and other stakeholders in Gladstone.

After a meeting with various government departments and other stakeholders at the Department for Employment, Economic Development and Industry office, Mr Wallace attended a meeting with commercial fishermen at the Grand Hotel.

He said people were "quite rightly" becoming vocal over the issue.

"This is people's livelihoods we're talking about," Mr Wallace said.

"This is a very serious matter and people have got every right to be questioning what's happening."

Mr Wallace reiterated the statement on Friday that red-spot disease and another parasite were behind the sickness striking several fish species in Gladstone Harbour.

He said the parasite was commonly found in fresh water. Little more is known about what might be causing the two conditions.

Mr Wallace said people in Gladstone had overwhelmingly told him they believed dredging was behind the problem, but he would not speculate on possible causes.

"I can only talk about the information that we have available to us and this is information from an independent body about the water quality in the harbour."

Mr Wallace said he had faith in the process used to monitor water quality.

He said he formed a new scientific panel on Monday because of the need for answers about the bizarre disease.

"I want (the panel) to get to the bottom of this, just like the community. I want to understand what's caused this outbreak," Mr Wallace said.

"The advice to me from my department is the water (quality) satisfies the requirements."

When asked if the community should brace itself for an extension of the current 21-day ban, he said he wouldn't speculate on that.

 

Complicated mix

  • Mr Wallace met with a wide range of people during his trip to Gladstone yesterday.
  • He held a meeting with Fisheries Queensland, Biosecurity Queensland, Queensland Health, politicians and stakeholders.
  • Mr Wallace said that despite the involvement of so many separate government departments, he was confident he could pull them all together to find an accurate and timely conclusion.
  • There is still no indication of when the ban on fishing will be lifted from Gladstone Harbour.

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