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Two-headed fish pay-out

Macadamia farmer Troy Ziesemer.
Macadamia farmer Troy Ziesemer.

BOREEN POINT macadamia grower Troy Ziesemer is a happy man, following a confidential out-of-court settlement from Channel 9 current affairs program 60 Minutes.

With the cheque cleared and the money in his bank account, Mr Ziesemer declared an end to the national conservation issue which became known as the Noosa River "two-headed fish" affair.

Mr Ziesemer had endured nearly three years of investigation, media coverage and legal action over claims that chemical run-off from farming caused "hundreds of thousands" of fish embryo abnormalities at a fish breeding operation next to a property he runs at Boreen Point.

National media, including 60 Minutes, ran with the claims, despite a lack of evidence.

Noosa River fish hatchery operator Gwen Gilson claimed Ziesemer farm chemicals had caused the problem, a terminal form of siamese twinning, known to occur naturally as well as from chemical influences. Some scientists say the condition can also be triggered by chemicals used in the fish breeding industry.

Ms Gilson announced she was suing Mr Ziesemer for damages from alleged chemical spray drift.

Mr Ziesemer in turn announced he was suing her and Channel 9 for defamation over the 60 Minutes report, which backed Ms Gilson.

In 2010, primary industries and fisheries Minister Tim Mulherin said final results had cleared Mr Ziesemer and the macadamia industry.

Mr Mulherin said the tests had shown only minute and once-undetectable traces of chemicals, most of them not used in macadamia production, well away from the accused farm.

Topics:  payout settlement


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