Fisherman spots disease on fish

Angler Michael Guerin with a mullet with red spot he caught near Nerimbera and a garfish he caught at the South Side Boat Ramp. They were caught in the Fitzroy River, sparking an investigation.
Angler Michael Guerin with a mullet with red spot he caught near Nerimbera and a garfish he caught at the South Side Boat Ramp. They were caught in the Fitzroy River, sparking an investigation. Chris Ison

RED alert for fishermen - there are some fish in the Fitzroy River with red spot disease.

Recreational fisherman Michael Guerin issued the warning after he caught two fish with red spot from two different locations on Sunday.

The first one, a garfish, was caught at the boat ramp next to the Fitzroy Motor Boat Club and the other, a mullet, about 10 kilometres downstream at Nerimbera.

"At the moment, I don't want to be an alarmist, but at the same time, people just need to be aware," Mr Guerin said.

He said he was concerned about the health of fish in the area, particularly after the problems in Gladstone Harbour.

Fishing guru Scott Lynch said it would seem that in the months after a serious flood event, there were one or two in the Fitzroy with only one or two spots.

He said he'd only ever caught two fish with red spot in the Fitzroy in the past 10 years.

"I don't think it's any relationship to the fish in the Gladstone Harbour," Mr Lynch said.

He said the Gladstone fish had cloudy eyes and generally looked unhealthy, while Fitzroy River fish with red spot looked rather healthy.

A Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry spokeswoman said there had only been one recent confirmed case of red spot disease as part of the Gladstone fish health investigation, and that was a barramundi caught at Port Alma, north of Gladstone in September 2011.

"As Fisheries Queensland has not received samples of the garfish or mullet caught in the Fitzroy River, we cannot confirm their condition or if anything has affected them."

Mr Guerin said he phoned the department yesterday but had not heard back.


Red spot

  • Caused by a fungus and shows as red lesions or deep ulcers

Severely ulcerated fish should:

  • Not be eaten
  • Not be returned to the river or waterway
  • Be disposed of away from waterways

Topics:  disease fish fisherman fitzroy river red spot disease

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