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Harbour situation should 'never happen again': scientist

Veterinary scientist Matt Landos says the government has failed to protect Gladstone Harbour.
Veterinary scientist Matt Landos says the government has failed to protect Gladstone Harbour. Brenda Strong

A REPORT linking fish health problems to dredging in Gladstone Harbour continues to make waves.

The author, veterinary scientist Dr Matt Landos, on Sunday reiterated the sources of funding for the research.

The report states 8% of the funding came from commercial fishermen, 24% from Gladstone processors, 31% from the seafood industry outside Gladstone and 37% from the general public.

"My business has not profited from undertaking the work," Dr Landos said. "I personally contributed over $50,000 in resources from my business."

Gladstone Ports Corporation attacked the science in Dr Landos' report on Friday, saying it flew in the face of all other scientific research on fish health in the harbour.

GPC chief executive Leo Zussino said the integrity of the report was compromised because it was funded to support a legal action.

"Matt Landos' report has been commissioned by the Gladstone Fishing Research Fund which has been financially supported by a small group of commercial fishers in the Gladstone harbour to support a compensation action represented by Shine Lawyers and Law Essentials," Mr Zussino said.

Dr Landos rejected Mr Zussino's claim.

"I do not work for Shine or Law Essentials," he said. "And I will not be any part of their legal case. The report was written for the public.

"My personal view (not that of the Gladstone Fishing Research Fund) is there are many stakeholders of our coastal areas: kids who want to swim there; anglers who thrive on catching fish; the seafood loving public who want to be able to eat high quality local caught Australian seafood, and not fear that it contains dangerous levels of heavy metal pollutants; and  the tourism industry who rely on our 'pristine' environment to lure people to visit our coastline.

"The colossal failure of management of the Gladstone dredging project has caused substantial impacts that go well beyond the harbour and the local seafood industry.

"Protecting World Heritage Areas is something our government is obliged to do on our behalf as citizens. It is a crying shame how poorly they have served the public, in failing to protect the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, that is Gladstone Harbour.

"If there is anything good that can come from this, it will be through independent international review of the wide range of assessment, approval, monitoring and response failings, which contributed to the observed substantial impacts on fish, crabs, dolphins, turtles and dugongs.

"The salient findings should be immediately applied to any proposed future port developments around Australia to ensure this never happens again."


Topics:  dredging, fish health, gladstone harbour, gladstone ports corporation



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