FEAR RAISED: Commercial fisherman Iain Nye says dredged and dumped sand from Moreton Bay's Spitfire Channel, to help expand the Sunshine Coast Airport, could cause local water to be tainted with a deadly disease.
FEAR RAISED: Commercial fisherman Iain Nye says dredged and dumped sand from Moreton Bay's Spitfire Channel, to help expand the Sunshine Coast Airport, could cause local water to be tainted with a deadly disease. Warren Lynam

Commercial fishermen fear looming 'biosecurity nightmare'

A COMMERCIAL fisherman fears a potential biosecurity "nightmare" that could destroy the Maroochy River.

Iain Nye says dredged and dumped sand from Moreton Bay's Spitfire Channel, to help expand the Sunshine Coast Airport, could cause local water to be tainted with a deadly disease.

About one and a half million cubic metres of sand will be dredged from the Spitfire Channel.

The prawn fisherman fears the dredged sand is coming out of an exclusion zone where white spot disease has been quarantined.

While airport officials say the sand is being removed 250 metres outside the zone and that it is "unlikely" the sand will contain white spot, Mr Nye thinks otherwise.

"I've seen a map that very clearly shows the area inside the quarantined area," Mr Nye said.

"That area is quarantined for a reason. Why are dredging from it? It is bizarre.

"Even if that map is wrong, 250m is way too close. Prawns, yabbie, crabs, worms could easily slip through the cracks."

 

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Biosecurity Queensland have been provided coordinates that determine the works were not situated within the white spot disease quarantine zone.

"The work is deemed to be very low risk as the soil will be de-watered and used as landfill," a Biosecurity spokesperson said.

But Mr Nye, whose livelihood relies on the prawn industry, says having a "very low" risk it isn't good enough.

"The risk should be zero," he said.

"Should that water get into the Maroochy River, it would be a nightmare.

"The potential damage is something you can't predict. It could ruin the Maroochy waterway.

"Hundreds and hundreds of recreational and commercial fishermen use it."

 

Commercial fisherman Iain Nye is concerned about the dredging done at Mudjimba, as theyre taking sand and fill out of the exclusion zone which may contained contaminated items such as dead prawns.
Commercial fisherman Iain Nye is concerned about the dredging done at Mudjimba, as theyre taking sand and fill out of the exclusion zone which may contained contaminated items such as dead prawns. Warren Lynam

Fellow commercial fisherman Bill Gilliland said Mr Nye was right to be fearful of the catchment's future.

He said it was "ludicrous" to dredge so close to the exclusion zone.

"This isn't a game, this is real, they're taking it far too close," Mr Gilliland said.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries say white spot is a highly contagious disease that can spread rapidly if not quarantined.

The disease is primarily spread through the movement of infected animals or contaminated water.

Birds that feed on and move infected animals can also spread the disease.



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