Surreal moment family save fish from crippling drought
SURREAL moments of catching hundreds of fish by hand in what's left of a water source has put a silver lining on the most severe drought the Fraser Coast has seen in years.
But that is the reality being faced by the Mclean family, who owns the Susan River Homestead Adventure Resort, as they witness their 10 dams, one lake and swamp drop to seven-year lows and dry up.
The start of 2017 has been one of the driest for the region on record with just 20.4mm of rain recorded in Maryborough since January 1, by the end of February the area, on average, sees 338mm.
The prolonged dry spell has led to Skye Mclean and her family spending their spare time down at the swamp on the property between Maryborough and Hervey Bay, re-locating hundreds of fish by bucket to nearby dams with higher water levels.
"It almost feels like we can see the water going down," Ms Mclean said.
"We have spent the afternoons after school with the kids relocating perch, mullet, barramundi and eels - every time we go out it becomes more of a mud puddle.
"On the first day we caught six big 20 litre buckets full of fish.
"We were literally throwing in nets and didn't know what was going to come out.
"The fish were jumping all around and through our legs - it was surreal."
"It has been a good six or seven years since we have seen it close to this."
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dan Narramore said Fraser Coast, Wide Bay and Burnett property owners are going through a "very unusual" start to 2017.
"The rainfall is well below average," he said.
Despite the dire situation, the bizarre experience of relocating the fish put a light-hearted spin on the drought for the family and their friends.
However it's expected to get worse with Fraser Coast property owners told to brace for weeks, possibly longer, of little to no rain by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Last week Maryborough MP Bruce Saunders backed a push from the Fraser Coast Regional Council to have the region drought declared.
The State Government is yet to add the Fraser Coast or any other region in South-East Queensland to the list.