Dead fish: Proof sought

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - By JON BAS­SETT

NORTH Beach-based fish­ing lobby Rec­fish­west wants charges laid if the death of hun­dreds of breed­ing pink snap­pers were caused by Cock­burn Sound pol­lu­tion 10 days ago.

“We’d love to see any peo­ple re­spon­si­ble held to ac­count and pros­e­cuted,” Rec­fish­west chief ex­ec­u­tive An­drew Row­land said.

Last Fri­day, there was no proof the deaths of at least 250 large, breed­ing snap­per, and about 500 whit­ing, flat­head and other species found badly de­com­posed on Sound beaches were linked to pol­lu­tion or a hu­man cause.

“And it’s not heavy met­als be­cause they gen­er­ally ac­cu­mu­late over time, and this hap­pened sud­denly,” Mr Row­land said.

The pub­lic first re­ported the deaths to Fish­watch at 6.58am on Novem­ber 19, but strong east­erly winds in the days near and after the re­port may have blown the fish from any source of the kill.

“And all that week­end there were kids play­ing in Rock­ing­ham, and at the other beaches,” Mr Row­land said.

Rec­fish­west’s web­site re­ported no cur­rent ev­i­dence of al­gae blooms or dis­ease, the ChemCen­tre had not iden­ti­fied sig­nif­i­cant chem­i­cals, and the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Reg­u­la­tion had found no links to in­dus­try out­falls, but not all com­pa­nies had replied.

But a fish ex­am­ined by the De­part­ment of Fish­eries had an abnormal liver and kid­ney.

After the deaths, Kwinana ti­ta­nium feed­stock maker Tronox said it had re­cently an­a­lysed its process, con­firmed all its ma­te­ri­als were “ac­counted for”, and there had been no loss of con­tain­ments.

A spokes­woman for nearby Al­coa said there was noth­ing to sug­gest its op­er­a­tions were con­nected to the fish deaths.

An­drew Row­land with a pink snap­per from the kill washed up on Gar­den Island.

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