Fish kill incident reports for 2003

QUEENSLAND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
Fish Kill Incident Reports for 2003

Report No.

Date Reported

Geographic Location

Extent of Incident

Cause of Incident

43/03

28 November 2003

Mouth of the Elliott River, near Guthalungra 4805

Continuation of Fish Kill No. 42/03. Thousands of dead fish reported (five days after 42/03) including whiting, mullet, flathead and stingrays.

Incident initially reported as being a result of coral spawn, although this incident is most likely due to the trichodesmium bloom reported five days earlier. Trichodesmium blooms are frequently reported as coral spawn.

42/03

23 November 2003

Mouth of the Elliott River, near Guthalungra 4805

Thousands of dead fish including bream, toadfish, whiting, stingrays, yabbies, crabs, and a small sea snake.

Large trichodesmium bloom in river (very high concentrations).

41/03

20 November 2003

Healy Creek, Saunders Beach 4818

Many thousands of fish over a large area of the creek. Species included cod, whiting, small perch, butterfish, sole, mangrove jack and gobies.

Very obvious trichodesmium bloom in area resulting in poor water quality. Dissolved oxygen concentration - 9.5%, Temperature - 33.3°C, Salinity 38.3ppt.

40/03

14 November 2003

Coconut Beach, Cape Tribulation 4873

1200 dead pony fish

(Approximately 7.5cm).

Unsure of cause.

39/03

18 November 2003

Half Tide Beach, south of Mackay 4740

Approximately 500 dead fish including mullet (10%), flathead (10%), butterfish (10%), small fingerlings <3cm (30%) and other species (40%).

Likely to be natural causes - coincided with large Trichodesmium bloom, low tide and high temperatures. Fish were found in a shallow tidal lagoon.

38/03

18 November 2003

Sugar cane drain, Farleigh 4740

100 small Jungle Perch (approx 12 cm) along 100m of stream

Incident coincided with an algal bloom most likely resulting from sugar cane material being washed into drain after rain event (very little rain for many months prior to this event).

37/03

29 October 2003

Between Turtle Cove and Oak Beach, Oak Beach 4871

12 Milkfish (Chanos chanos) all approximately 1m long

Bycatch - all fish with obvious signs of netting trauma

36/03

18 September 2003

South Mossman River, Mossman 4873

20 to 30 dead fish (possibly Jungle Perch) along a 1.4km stretch

Not enough information to determine cause of incident.

35/03

18 September 2003

Palm Cove Beach, Palm Cove 4879

Several thousand Pony Fish (approx 10cm)

Not enough information to determine cause of incident.

34/03

3 April to 6 April 2003

Woongarra Channel System, Bundaberg 4670

Total of approximately 2000 dead fish:

- 3 April: > 1000 small gudgeons (<50mm)

- 6 April: 30 catfish and bony bream (~300mm) and < 1000 gudgeons (<50mm)

Routine aquatic plant control conducted on 3 April 2003 (in accordance with label directions, including dosing concentrations and withholding periods).

Alternative methods (mechanical, biological and chemical) are being investigated although no alternative has been found.

33/03

29 June 2003

Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas 4871

23,000 dead fish,

99% Pony Fish

Incident likely to be due to trawler bycatch.

32/03

22 April 2003

Federal Beach, Thursday Island 4875

> 50 dead herring

Not enough information to determine cause of incident.

31/03

15 April 2003

Johnstone River, Malanda 4885

10-20 fish: 80% Spangled Perch (3 - 8cm) and 20% unknown species (3cm)

Large volume of effluent was released about 3.5km upstream of the site with high levels of BOD in the wastewater. Very low levels of dissolved oxygen were recorded at the discharge site and further downstream (< 12.5%). Dissolved oxygen was good above the discharge site (75.9%).

30/03

28 April 2003

Swampy Creek, Innisfail 4860

10 eel-tailed catfish (20 -30cm long)

Related to sewage discharge into a low flowing creek. Very low dissolved oxygen levels and potential toxicity due to high ammonia readings. Johnstone Shire Council closed creek and pumped out polluted water.

29/03

24 April 2003

Cania Dam near Monto 4630

58 freshwater jew, 23 silver perch, 2 golden perch and 1 Saratoga

Likely to be natural causes - fishkill followed a significant

week-long rainfall event in the wake of Cyclone Berni. Cania Dam rose from 3% to 32% of supply capacity during this time.

28/03

11 February 2003

Bullooo River, Thargomindah 4492

>200 dead fish - mostly Golden Perch (30 to 40cm), plus some moonfish and bony bream (14 to 20cm)

Likely to be natural causes - first flood event after long dry period.

27/03

15 January 2003

Main Waterhole, Bulloo River Thargomindah 4492

5 Golden Perch (> 50cm)

Likely to be natural causes - combination of extremely hot weather and low water levels

26/03

8 April 2003

Irrigation canal, Bundaberg 4670

Thousands of bream (5-10 cm), catfish (15-30 cm), crayfish and prawns.

Unsure of cause - EPA are waiting for a report from Sunwater identifying possible causes of the kill.

25/03

4 April 2003

Barretts Lagoon, Tully 4854

Several barramundi

(Up to 75 cm), bony bream and bony herring.

Unsure of cause - small incident, no further action taken.

24/03

3 April 2003

Ross Creek, Townsville 4810

100 fish, mainly whiting and a few herring. Thousands of fish were gulping at the surface, including mullet, whiting, herring, flathead, gudgeons, mangrove jack, perchlets and striped butterfish.

No obvious spill or other abnormal conditions, no evidence of sewage overflows. Flushing is very poor in this area and dissolved oxygen concentrations were very low (2.8mg/L).

23/03

14 March 2003

Ross River, Townsville 4815

Hundreds of fish dead including bony bream, banded perch, mouth almighty and barramundi (to 20kg). Many thousands of fish were seen gulping at the surface.

Low dissolved oxygen levels (as low as 0.5 mg/L) recorded in the Ross River around Gleeson's Weir. Kill occurred after rain event following an extended dry period. Large quantities of vegetation covered as a result of increased water levels. A controlled release from the Ross River dam helped restore oxygen concentrations to normal.

22/03

20 March 2003

Concrete drain, Townsville 4818

100 Tilapia

Sediment was being cleaned from drain and the resulting disturbed debris and drainage of trapped water led to fish kill.

21/03

Between 3 and 9 March 2003

Entire east coast of Fraser Island

Approximately 300,000 dead threadfin leatherjackets (plus a few whiting, mullet and flathead).

Likely to be natural causes - an extensive investigation has failed to find any cause. Pathology report indicated nothing significant. Not likely to be related to human activities due to the depth at which these fish live (generally >90 m).

20/03

1 March 2003

Condamine River, Warwick 4370

300 fish dead - 90% European carp, 10% perch and catfish over 800m of river.

Fish observed gulping at surface suggesting low oxygen concentrations. Fish samples showed no contamination from pesticides.

19/03

6 March 2003

Channel between Haughton Balancing Storage and the Haughton River 4816

3,600 fish predominantly bony bream (<20 cm), but also including eel-tailed catfish

(<20 cm) and perch (<15 cm).

A number of small prawns (approximately 1 cm) were also involved.

The fish appear to have been attracted to a small flow of water entering a shallow channel. The fish and prawns then died due to oxygen depletion and stranding.

18/03

30 November 2002

Gowrie Creek, Gowrie 4400

6 to 8 large catfish (to 30 cm).

Unsure of cause - possibly due to oxygen depletion after storm on the 29 November 2002.

17/03

19 March 2003

Selby Lagoon, Tully 4854

Approximately 450 dead bony bream (20 to 38 cm) and 5 barramundi (40 to 65 cm).

Unsure of cause - possibly due to organic material washed into the lagoon during recent rains.

16/03

19 March 2003

Waterhole on Three Mile Creek, Bowen 4894

Approximately 32 dead fish, 5 to 7 cm long.

Possible oxygen and nutrient fluxes due to recent algal bloom.

15/03

11 February 2003

Yeppen Yeppen Lagoon, Rockhampton 4702

24-36 dead fish approximately 15 cm long including bream, eels and others.

Possibly due to natural causes related to recent high rainfall

14/03

28 February 2003

Elliot River, Sharks Nest 4670

40 dead fish up to 40 cm long including mullet, leatherjacket, toadfish, happy moments, mangrove jack, parrot fish and bream.

Possibly due to natural causes - recent high rainfall resulted in elevated levels in waterways in the region, most barrages and weirs were overflowing

13/03

26 February 2003

Kolan River, Booyan 4673

Hundreds of fish over several kilometres of river including mullet, leatherjacket, toadfish, happy moments, mangrove jack, parrot fish and bream.

Possibly due to natural causes - recent high rainfall resulted in elevated levels in waterways in the region, most barrages and weirs were overflowing

12/03

3 March 2003

Joe Sippel Weir, Barambah Ck, Murgon 4605

"Hundreds" of fish reported dead, on inspection, 25 eel-tail catfish, 6 bony bream and 3 perch found remaining.

Likely to be natural causes - large freshwater flow resulting in low dissolved oxygen, high temperatures and high turbidity

11/03

12 February 2003

Ned Churchill Weir, Burnett River 4670

Approximately 100 dead fish, various species.

Likely to be natural causes - large inflow of freshwater resulting in temperature fluctuations and a reduction in oxygen concentrations due to a large influx of organic material and mobilisation of the oxygen depleted layer.

10/03

12 February 2003

Cania Dam, north of Moonford 4630

Approximately 100 dead fish, various species.

Likely to be natural causes - large inflow of freshwater resulting in temperature fluctuations and a reduction in oxygen concentrations due to a large influx of organic material and mobilisation of the oxygen depleted layer.

09/03

10 February 2003

Callide Dam, Biloela 4715

100 dead fish of varying species.

Likely to be natural causes-large inflow of freshwater (dam increased in volume from 9,243ML to 51,649ML) resulting in temperature fluctuations and a reduction in oxygen concentrations due to a large influx of organic material and mobilisation of the oxygen depleted layer.

08/03

16 February 2003

Hay Point, South of Mackay 4740

Several hundred fish - Bony bream to 30 cm (majority), Catfish from 30 cm to 1 meter, Mullet large to 1 meter, Bream 20 cm.

Fish kill occurred in lagoon that had a visible algal scum on the surface. The lagoon also had very low pH and high dissolved oxygen levels.

07/03

18 February 2003

Bakers Creek, Walkerston 4751

40 fish including bullrout,

eel-tail catfish and bony bream to 35 cm in length.

Likely to be natural causes, fish seen gasping, dissolved oxygen measured at 1.06mg/L. Creek forming isolated pools due to low rainfall.

06/03

12 February 2003

Bobs Creek, Paluma 4816

Barramundi, Mackerel, Queenfish.

Not likely to be natural causes - net marks noted on some fish, so kill most likely bycatch from either professional or amateur fishing.

05/03

10 February 2003

Mouth of Ross River, Townsville 4810

<10 fish including bream, catfish, stingrays and a mud crab.

Appeared to be discarded catch.

04/03

9 February 2003

Beach between Blind Creek and Althaus Creek 4818

Approximately 60 fish including catfish, trevally and grunter.

Appeared to be discarded catch.

03/03

5 February 2003

Private Dam on Little Burpengary Creek, Burpengary 4505

Approximately 50 dead mullet and bony bream (all > 20 cm).

Likely to be natural causes - recent heavy rain after dry period resulting in low oxygen concentrations.

02/03

4 February 2003

Curralea Lake, Townsville 4812

100+ fish dead on 4 February, 500+ dead on 5 February with hundreds more on 6 February. Species included barramundi, milkfish, bream, flathead, striped butterfish, spotted butterfish, striped grunter, tilapia, mullet, gar, mudcrabs and macrobrachium.

Likely to be natural causes - low dissolved oxygen levels recorded - as low as 0.18mg/L. Higher nighttime temperature also recorded.

01/03

25 January 2003

Oakenden Main Channel, Oakenden 4740

>150 small bony bream.

Uncertain of direct cause - Channel had been treated with herbicide to treat algae, although pH was also very high (9.0).