Lungfish deaths spark outrage

A CONSERVATION group has expressed its outrage following claims thousands of lungfish died due to the overflow at Paradise Dam during the Christmas floods.

Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council president Roger Currie said he had been given evidence from a confidential source that lungfish numbers in the Burnett River had been significantly reduced, and he blamed the dam for the outcome.

Mr Currie has now called on water supplier SunWater to release all current data on the total numbers of lungfish destroyed after going over the dam's concrete spillway, which he claimed was nicknamed “the shredder”.

“The Queensland lungfish are only widespread to the Burnett and Mary rivers and key experts have said the greatest threat to the species' survival is the high infrastructure in Burnett and Brisbane areas,” he said.

“I'm calling on the Premier and Treasurer, as the primary shareholders of SunWater, to order SunWater to release the data.”

Conservation council media representative Emma-Kate Currie said the current Queensland Government should be held accountable for failing to protect the protected fish.

“With the combined overflow events at Paradise, Somerset, Wivenhoe and North Pine dams during the past 12 months, the impacts and losses to the lungfish populations have been a significant impact under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999,” she said.

A SunWater representative said the company had a firm commitment to sound and responsible environmental management.

“SunWater has a lungfish-monitoring program in place,” the spokesperson said.

“The unprecedented flood conditions in Queensland, including Paradise Dam, prevented access for monitoring in January and February 2011.

“Instances of lungfish deaths are reported directly to the Department of Environmental and Resource Management, in accordance with SunWater's environmental obligations.

“SunWater has a long-standing record of ensuring its water infrastructure across regional Queensland is not only of benefit to communities but also that the operations of our infrastructure does not impact adversely on the surrounding environment.”

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