Seafood fit to eat from Gladstone waters

By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.dyndns.org

THE smile has returned to the face of Simon Whittingham after finally getting the news he has been waiting weeks to here.

Mr Whittingham's livelihood, along with the entire Gladstone seafood industry, has been in limbo since the oil spill in Gladstone Harbour in January.

But the local seafood was yesterday given the green light, which means the catches from commercial fishing operators will not need to be tested before being sent to market.

Fewer words were sweeter for the Gladstone Fish Markets proprietor.

'I'm glad that it's come around,' Mr Whittingham said.

'There's been some upheaval but that was to protect the consumer.

'Hopefully it means things are turning back to some normality.'

Mr Whittingham said although only a few fishermen had to change their fishing grounds as a result of the oil spill, the green light would give everyone full confidence in catching and selling local seafood.

However, live coral trout operators were still waiting on the results of water quality testing before they could confidently operate out of Gladstone.

Coral reef fisherman and delegate Ray Gordon said some operators were unloading in Gladstone but had to rely on oxygen rather than circulating harbour water.

Other live coral trout operators continue to fish out of other ports such as Mackay until the water quality test results are announced.

Primary Industries and Fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin yesterday said some sampling would continue in the area directly affected by the oil spill.

'All the samples tested by Queensland Health have shown that the seafood is suitable for sale,' Mr Mulherin said.



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