Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Dredging Poses a Threat to Mudflats

Newspaper article The Observer (Gladstone, Australia)

Dredging Poses a Threat to Mudflats

Article excerpt

YESTERDAY I caught up with local fishing legend Johnny Mitchell to try and soak up what effects dredging will have on certain areas which we'd regard as mudflats, but when you actually scratch the surface there is more happening than "just mudflats".

He even showed me that dead whale carcass washed up on the mudflats along from Farmers Point. A bit sad but it certainly looks as though the sharks had a feast.

The area from Tide Island right to the CyThe Gut' at Quoin Island is one which I haven't ventured into mainly because when I am zipping past this region I'm in a 28-foot cruiser when a tinny is the only boat which could access this area.

When we went through this area it was near the bottom of the tide but the tide was coming in. The bottom was sandy, and littered with soft corals, the odd rock bar, and many species of fish from steel backs to mullet, bream, eagle rays, hardy heads, and millions of prawns.

Any would regard this area as the nursery of the southern end of Curtis Island. Cruising up Enfield Creek the water's edge came alive with bait fish, prawns and also predators. I was very surprised to see a small dolphin feeding in the shallows of the creek, but once it spotted us, a nice bow wave was created as it bolted past the boat.

Now we are about to have a whole heap of dredging done to accommodate the new LNG jetties and their ships and it's very important that the likes of the existing habitat is kept intact as much as possible.

The three passage islands which split the harbour in two starting at the mouth of the Calliope River, need to be kept as they are. One of these islands has a wee sandy beach with a variety of different mud, sand and coffee-type rock/mud leading up to and on the island, plus its own yabbie bank!

Then you look at some of the areas between islands and the shore and the water clarity changes so much from clear and visibility of a couple of feet to no visibility at all and the ecosystem changes from bream, rays, flathead to one where salmon and grunter and maybe the odd barra would love. …

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