Sulphate soils under control: DERM

GLADSTONE Harbour is not suffering from the effects of acid sulphate soils, according to the Department of Environment and Resource Management.
Rumours have been circulating for months that acid sulphate soils, dug up by dredging, was damaging water quality in Gladstone Harbour and contributing to marine animal deaths.

Acid sulphate soils occur naturally just beneath the seabed in the harbour.
DERM's Dr Christine Williams said the department took water quality monitoring "very seriously".
"DERM undertakes water quality monitoring in estuaries feeding into the harbour and pH sampling undertaken in early August showed no pH value less than 7.4," Dr Williams said.

"DERM does not believe low pH water is impacting on fish health in the harbour or at any of the specific monitoring sites."
The statement from the department came when Gladstone Harbour was closed to all fishing due to numerous reports of diseased fish.
Dr Williams said speculation about the cause of diseased fish was pointless until results of investigations were known.
Many fishermen, environmentalists and politicians are convinced disturbing acid sulphate soils in the harbour is  damaging water quality.
Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowdhas raised the issue in parliament.
The Queensland Seafood Industry Association has questioned how water quality in the harbour can be considered safe
if live coral trout fishermen have been banned from bringing their live catch in via Gladstone Harbour.
Meanwhile, a report from the Fraser Coast Chronicle says a disease is affecting fish there. A giant groper recently died
in the Burrum River and stunned barramundi are reportedly being caught by hand as they swim aimlessly in the shallows



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