Fish trying to breathe at Moneys Creek.
Fish trying to breathe at Moneys Creek.

Mass fish kill in Moneys Creek

HUNDREDS of dead fish were scooped out of a putrid Moneys Creek and carted away as people continued to swim in the same water on the other side of the causeway.

The sight of the of fish gasping for breath on the surface of the lagoon at the weekend terrified Bargara residents Glenn and Laurie Jarrott.

Mr Jarrott said he first noticed fish dying about three weeks ago.

“The problems start to alleviate with the king tide,” he said.

But on Saturday morning, during their walk, the Jarrotts noticed hundreds of fish swimming along the top of the water in a desperate attempt to breathe.

“It made us feel really sad,” Mrs Jarrott said.

“The little ones were trying jumping out of the water, but they can only do that for so long.”

The residents said Bundaberg Regional Council workers arrived on Saturday morning and started scooping the dead fish out from the middle of the pond, before taking a truck load away and going back yesterday to repeat the process.

Chemists were also testing water quality.

Mr Jarrott said that although it had been an on-going issue, he had never seen it that bad.

Despite council closing the swimming area on the Kellys Beach side of the creek, people continued to swim there throughout the weekend.

Moneys Creek Rehabilitation Group chair Mike Rennie said he estimated 600 to 700 fish had died.

“They are starved of oxygen by the increasing temperature of the water and the concentration of phosphate and nitrate that is causing the algal bloom,” he said.

“The algae sucks the oxygen out of the water and the fish are suffocating.”

“It’s a terrible way to die and it should not continue.”

In October, NewsMail reported that solutions for the algal bloom had been found but the rehabilitation group was still in talks with council over funding to get the work done.

The rehabilitation group has spent about $120,000 on three studies and Mr Rennie said solutions to stop the deaths and algal blooms from recurring included putting more holes in the causeway to increase the water flow, dredging the lagoon to make it deeper and constructing silt traps to catch sediment as it flowed into the lagoon.

But Bundaberg Regional Councillor Greg Barnes said a study needed to be done into the stability of the causeway before the best solution to the problem was found.

“I’m not aware of the structural stability of the causeway itself or the extent or exact location of infrastructure such as water and sewer mains,” he said.

“This would be a basic requirement before we consider our options.”

“We understand it’s a community asset — we’re ham-strung because we’re not the owners of the land and we need to work with all stakeholders to come up with a solution.”The council owns the causeway, but the Bargara Golf Club owns the lagoon area.

Cr Barnes said council had taken prompt action and had a response team at the site as soon as it was made aware of the problem.

He also said the council chemist had taken a number of samples from up-stream to right at the causeway and water quality levels were “well within acceptable limits”.

Council has opened the flood gates on the causeway to allow water in, but only one tide per day is currently high enough to make it through the gates and into the lagoon.

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