Dead catfish at Boyne River Mouth

More than 100 dead catfish have been found at the Boyne River Mouth in recent days. Photo David Sparkes / The Observer
More than 100 dead catfish have been found at the Boyne River Mouth in recent days. Photo David Sparkes / The Observer David Sparkes

MYSTERY surrounds the appearance of more than a hundred dead catfish washed up at the Boyne River Mouth.

Residents have been finding the fish since Monday. Along the high tide line on Boyne Island, dead catfish were strewn every few metres along the high tide line from the morning before.

A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) confirmed staff had inspected a section of the Boyne River on Monday and yesterday following reports of dead fish.

"Departmental staff have found over 100 dead catfish between the mouth of the Boyne River and the Bruce Highway bridge, approximately 20 kilometres south of Gladstone.

"The cause of death is currently unknown. Departmental staff are investigating and have conducted water quality monitoring and sampling.

"The water quality monitoring undertaken on 4 April 2012 identified reduced salinity levels due to freshwater inflow. All other monitoring results have found water quality is consistent with those of a healthy waterway."

Without any water quality issues being identified so far, the search for other explanations is on.

One resident at the river mouth suggested the fish might have spilled over Awonga Dam since the January rains.

That theory was rejected yesterday by the Gladstone Area Water Board (GAWB), which said no significant number of fish, catfish or otherwise, had spilled over the dam wall this year.

Last year, tens of thousands of barramundi flowed over the Awoonga Dam wall when it spilled over for the first time.

However, GAWB corporate services manager Gary Larsen yesterday told The Observer there had been almost no fish spill over the wall this year.

Mr Larsen said none of GAWB's monitoring could shed any light on where the dead fish had come from.

However, he said that since the dam spilled over on January 28, large numbers of catfish had been observed swimming upstream in the Boyne River.

He said GAWB had informed DEHP shortly after the spill about the catfish movements.

Mr Larsen said a large number of those catfish had swum upstream to the bottom of Awoonga Dam wall.

He said they had schooled there for some time, but GAWB's hatchery manager had regularly monitored the health of the fish and found no signs of poor health.

Mr Larsen emphasised no explanation was known for the dead catfish washed up recently, but one hypothetical possibility was that they had run out of food where they were schooling upstream.

The Awoonga Dam is still spilling over. It is currently at a level of 40.30 metres, which is 30 centimetres over the wall's spillway.
* DEHP was formerly the Department of Environment and Resource Management

Topics:  dead fish

APLNG 'overly stretched' Origin's resources: CEO

LNG FUKUROKUJU is purpose built to carry LNG from the APLNG facility at Curtis Island to Kansai Electric facility in Japan.

Despite posting big losses this year, Origin confident in LNG

How she's reclaiming her femininity after losing breasts

INSPIRATION: Gladstone cancer survivor Lana Rhodes has taken part in the So Brave Project's 2017 calendar.

COURAGEOUS MUM'S heartwarming journey to reclaiming her femininity.

Meteor hunter pin-points explosion's ground zero

Wappa Falls Observatory astronomer Owen Bennedick is looking for more information about the meteor which sent shock waves throughout Gladstone and the state.

MORE than 200 witnesses have come forward with fresh information.

Local Partners

Artist unveils her island home

JEAN Kane's backyard has a unique and elusive history; but next week she's prepared to unveil it to travellers from across the country and world.

Your chance to win

Learn More

Barry Gibb is coming to Bluesfest 2017

FANS: Barry Gibb talks to a fan next to a cardboard cutout of his young self.

Aged 70, Gibb has re-launched his solo music career with a new album

Tim Finn headlining at Airlie Beach Music Festival

Music veteran Tim Finn from New Zealand will headline the Airlie Beach Music Festival.

Tim Finn: "It's the kind of festival that artists love"

WHAT'S ON: Fashion show, family events and live entertainment

Runway 7 Model and Talent Agency Roche Bailey.

Everything you need to know about what you can do in the region.

Selma Blair blames flight outburst on 'psychotic blackout'

Selma Blair

"I am someone who should never drink, and I rarely do"

Bob Dylan acknowledges Nobel Prize win

Bob Dylan has finally acknowledged his Nobel Prize win

WATCH: Trailer for Jackman's final Wolverine film released

First trailer for the last Wolverine film with Hugh Jackman.

Thrilling trailer promises a dark, dystopian finale for Wolverine

CCTV footage surfaces of Kim Kardashian West's robbers

The blurry footage shows three men on bikes and two on foot

Cathriona White's mother claims to have Jim Carrey's results

Jim Carrey and late ex-girlfriend Cathriona White

SHE claims Carrey exposed White to herpes, chlamydia, Hepatitis A

The Koi Boys are back with more covers and original songs

Former Voice contestants The Koi Boys have signed with Universal Music.

THE Voice favourites release their debut album today.

Push to sell homes that flooded Gladstone's market

Suburban housing in Glenvale, Toowoomba, Friday, October 17, 2014. Photo Kevin Farmer / The Chronicle

URGENT push to cash-up first home buyers investing in Gladstone.

New $200 million development will create 580 jobs

Cassie And Josh with baby Alfie and daughter Andee. They have bought at new Lennox Head development Epiq.

Majority of new positions will be given to Northern Rivers locals

Cherrabah's mega resort plans axed

PLANS for a massive development at Cherrabah have been scrapped.

What our mayor thinks of the new draft SEQPlan

The plan to use the innovative technology as part of the new Maroochydore CBD was cemented on site today when Mayor Mark Jamieson and Envac Asia Region president Chun Yong Ha formally signed the contract for the $20 million underground waste collection system.

New plan accommodates Sunshine Coast Council's vision for growth.

Dusit Thani finance crisis 'just a small hiccup'

ON TRACK: Springfield Land Chairman, Maha Sinnathamby, Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale, Developer Richard Turner and Springfield Land Deputy Chairman, Bob Sharpless, at the recent resort sod turning ceremony.

Property developer says project remains firmly on track

Heavyweight enters real estate market

Des Besanko principal and director of Raine and Horne Springfield.

Major rebranding which has seen two big name brands merge