Fish tests may take year

Member for Noosa Glen Elmes is demanding answers from the Bligh government about tests related to the case of two-headed bass born in August at a Boreen Point fish hatchery.

But the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries on Friday said more tests were being done and could take some time.

Mr Elmes wrote to the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin on November 3 on behalf of hatchery owner Gwen Gilson but, despite receiving a reply on December 2, has not been advised of test results.

“I found it extraordinary the deputy premier on Tuesday announced a ‘government probe’ into the two-headed fish larvae when his own government has ‘been investigating the fish deaths and the alleged pesticide spray drift issues over the past two years’,” he said.

“My representation to the minister on November 3 on behalf of Ms Gilson was a further reminder to the minister that the issue remains unresolved.

“I asked the minister that I be advised of the outcome of the tests so that I could pass these results on to Ms Gilson but, as yet, they have not been provided.

“I have written to the minister and asked to be advised of the findings of the investigation.”

Meanwhile, DPI&F (aquaculture – animal biosecurity) principal veterinary officer Roger Chong, who is working on the hatchery case, on Friday said it would be a complex task finding out the cause of the deformities.

“The tests are very sensitive and analytical using the best equipment available,” he said.

“We are testing for pesticides in amounts that affect fish. It is essential that we establish the facts and lots of tests have to be done. And we have to make sure the results are accurate so as to be meaningful.”

Dr Chong said the whole project could take a year as he was looking at three different types of fish – silver perch, golden perch and Australian bass – and their spawning cycles.

He said there were five main reasons for deformities: physical, inbreeding, infectious disease, nutrition, and toxins.

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