Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Two-Headed Fish Fear; Macadamia Spray Probe Sparks Call to Check Local Rivers

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Two-Headed Fish Fear; Macadamia Spray Probe Sparks Call to Check Local Rivers

Article excerpt

Byline: PETER WEEKES and JAMIE BROWN

ALSTONVILLE resident Rick O'Neill often dangles a line in the Richmond River, but he's more worried about snagging on the bottom than catching a two-headed fish.

Yet tens of thousands of two-headed fish larvae were spawned at a Queensland hatchery from bass taken from the Noosa River, and an initial investigation has blamed chemical run-off from macadamia farms.

Yesterday, local experts called for immediate testing of the Richmond and Wilsons rivers to ensure public health is not at risk. Residents near macadamia farms were also warned not to drink tank water collected from their roofs.

The deformed bass larvae are thought to have been affected by two chemicals routinely used by macca farms - the insecticide endosuplhan and the fungicide carbendazim.

"This is very, very concerning," EcoFishers chief executive Ken Thurlow, of Byron Bay, said. "The NSW Government should immediately start testing river water quality. …

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