Endangered sealife killed in act of ‘vandalism’
LOCAL rangers have been left frustrated after six sawfish and two dugongs washed up on the beach after becoming tangled in fishing nets.
The deaths of the two endangered species at Wunjunga are now under investigation after they were reported to Queensland Fisheries and Boating Patrol on Monday by the public.
A video sent to the Burdekin Advocate by local rangers showed a sawfish washed up on the sand with broken fishing net entangled around its nose.
Gudjuda ranger James Gaston said it was not the first time he had seen animals wash up on the beaches of the Burdekin after becoming caught fishing nets.
"It's been happening for a long time," Mr Gaston said.
The latest incident though has pushed local rangers to the limits with Mr Gaston now hoping to take the matter further, putting a stop to netting around the Cape Upstart and the Wunjunga area.
The incident has left Burdekin MP Dale Last appalled, labelling it an "act of environmental vandalism".
"Everyone who enjoys fishing and maritime activities would agree that this is just not on," Mr Last said.
"Dugongs and sawfish are endangered so this is an act of environmental vandalism.
"The incident is being investigated and I hope the perpetrators face the full weight of the law."
A Fisheries Queensland spokesman said the Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol treated all matters of this kind seriously but could not comment further while the matter was being investigated.
If you suspect illegal fishing, whether seen in person or online, report it to the FishWatch hotline on 1800 017 116 or the online Fishwatch form at www.facebook.com/FisheriesQueensland