Confusion surrounds fish diseases

CONFUSION surrounds reports of human illness in connection with the health of Gladstone Harbour.

Commercial fishermen and Queensland Health appear to hold different views about the issue.

Several members of the commercial fishing community have told the Observer that their colleagues have become sick either through contact with contaminated fish or through poor water quality in Gladstone Harbour.

Lawyer Michael Garrahy, who represents about 50 commercial fishermen in the region, said he was aware of some 20 fishermen who had become sick.

"The recent fish and fishermen health concerns are making things even tougher for commercial fishermen, their families and employees," Mr Garrahy said.

"Their focus over recent weeks has been working to assist Government identify the cause of sickness and skin infections experienced in recent months by more than 20 commercial fishermen."

A spokesperson for Queensland Health responded to The Observer yesterday, saying the department was yet to confirm any connection between the harbour and human illness.

"Queensland Health has not identified any clear link between the diseases in fish and infections in humans."

"Queensland Health has interviewed a number of people involved in recreational fishing and the fishing industry who have been concerned they might have been unwell as a result of contact with affected fish."

"They have described a range of conditions, including infected fish spike injuries and wounds and other skin problems."

The spokesperson said all the symptoms described can have multiple causes, so it was impossible at this stage to pinpoint a cause.



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