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Caution for fishing industry in flood-affected areas

MINISTER for Primary Industries Fisheries and Rural and Regional Queensland Tim Mulherin has urged fishers to be cautious about taking catch from flood-affected areas.

“The fishing industry continues its precautionary approach in Moreton Bay with a voluntary stoppage on fishing in the area most significantly impacted by flood run-off,” Minister Mulherin said.

“With the amount of sediment and debris in the water, this approach is a very sound measure from south-east Queensland’s commercial and recreational fishing sector.

“Government along with industry is monitoring water movement to see how the flood plume dissipates before making any further decisions about fishing in the area

“Reports of red spot have been received about some fish from the Burnett River and Moreton Bay including bream and whiting,” Minister Mulherin said.

Fisheries Queensland have warned fishers to steer away from catching fish that show any signs of red spot which shows as black burn-like marks, or deeper ulcers with red centres on the fish.

Red spot, which often shows up in times of stress, is typically caused by a fungus. Occurrences of red spot would not be unexpected along any part of the coast that has experienced significant flooding recently.

Fish showing red spots should not be caught or consumed.

Fish kills should be reported to the Department of Environment and Resource Management hotline on 1300 130 372.

Climate Change and Sustainability Minister Kate Jones said all agencies involved were working closely to assess the impacts and determine appropriate action for the long term recovery of the Bay.

“There is no doubt this massive natural disaster has had a huge impact on our environment,” Ms Jones said.

“That’s why we are undertaking the largest coordinated marine monitoring program in Queensland’s history to look at the impacts of the flood plume on Moreton Bay and the Great Barrier Reef, as well as waterways throughout the state.

“Scientific teams are continuing to test for nutrients, turbidity, salinity and ph levels, as well as additional testing for metals, pesticides and fuels.

“Test results from the first round of sampling last week are currently being analysed with results expected by the end of this week.”

Scientists from the Department of Environment and Resource Management and their research partners are working closely with the fisheries teams in the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation and scientists at Queensland Health, who are analysing the samples taken from the bay to consider impacts on seafood and human health as well as the environment.

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