Nets caused turtle deaths: locals
HERE are growing demands for the mouth of the Boyne River to be closed to all net fishing as community concern heightens over the death of large numbers of green turtles.
Local residents have voiced their concerns over the practice, fearing that more turtles will die before action is taken over the matter. On Sunday 10 green turtles were found dead, washed up on beaches in Boyne Island and Tannum Sands near the mouth of the Boyne River.
As of Wednesday afternoon the tally had risen to 14 and could possibly climb further with fresh reports of young turtles being washed up on the beaches.
Necropsies have been conducted with the results ruling out boat strikes, starvation and traditional hunting as the cause of death.
Boyne Island resident Jennifer Jackson said she had been very upset to find an increasing number of dead turtles with no visible injuries washed up on the beach at Boyne Island.
Mrs Jackson said they have been washing up with more frequency since professional fishermen have been netting across the mouth of the Boyne River.
She said her husband had been in contact with the fisheries over the legality of their actions and had been assured that what they are doing was well within the law.
“While we accept that, the damage being done is blatantly obvious,” Mrs Jackson said.
“To us it just seems too much of a coincidence.”
Department of Environment and Resource Management general manager Marine Terry Harper said there was a healthy population of turtles in this area as a result of strong protection measures in place.
He said Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers had been on site at Boyne Island every day since Sunday and have now found 14 dead turtles.
“QPWS rangers are now investigating other potential causes,” Mr Harper said.