Harbour health in review

FISHERIES Queensland (FQ) has responded to a fish contamination scare warranting the immediate closure of Gladstone Harbour by re-examining fish cultures they received more than a week ago.

FQ's managing director Maria Mohr led a telephone briefing with local, state and federal representatives yesterday afternoon and promised an answer by this Friday at the latest.

State member for Gladstone Liz Cunningham dubbed the briefing 'disappointing' saying attempts were made to shift responsibility.

"They're working in silos," she said. "They say the primary responsibility for water quality in the harbour lies with DERM (Department of Environment and Resource Management), the Gladstone Regional Council and the Ports Corporation," she said.

No new fish samples had been collected following the closure of the harbour, triggered by the hospitalisation of two Gladstone fishermen after contact with diseased barramundi.

Scientists in Brisbane are re-examining nine fish and are awaiting the growth of fish cultures which take a fortnight to develop.

Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd addressed Federal Parliament yesterday, calling for immediate action from Environment Minister Tony Burke: "The people of Gladstone are demanding a quick, independent enquiry," he said

Queensland Seafood Industry Association (QSIA) CEO Winston Harris called for test results to be produced as soon as possible.

"Biosecurity Queensland has had these samples for some time. There cannot be any further delays."