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Local turtles doing it tough

CONCERNED: Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre owner Bob McCosker washes Delly, the 140kg green turtle. INSET: Bob McCosker.
CONCERNED: Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre owner Bob McCosker washes Delly, the 140kg green turtle. INSET: Bob McCosker. Rebekah Smith

TURTLES on the Capricorn Coast have been in the spotlight recently after turtle rehabilitation centre owner Bob McCosker said that despite appearances, the water in Rosslyn Bay is in worse condition than the Gladstone harbour.

Founder of the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (QITRC) said in the past 12 months, 50% of all sick turtles had come from the bay.

"On our survival rates, Rosslyn Bay is the worst," he said.

"We save around half of the animals we get in from Rosslyn Bay."

He said people were often surprised because of the "pristine waters" there.

"Unfortunately in Gladstone we have marine mud around the shores and on the bottom and a tide that runs at two-and-a-half knots, which picks up the mud and makes our harbour look dirty and hence people assume it's unhealthy, which is not the case," he said.

"Rosslyn Bay you've got this beautiful pristine water that you can see the bottom in 40ft of water and yet half of the animals from up there don't survive.

"I love to get that message out there because at Gladstone harbour we're saving 60-70% (of sick turtles), which to me implies the waters around Rosslyn Bay are in worse condition than the ones they say we're dealing with here."

A Department of Environment and Heritage Protection spokesperson said water quality off the Queensland coast had generally improved since the floods of 2010-11.

"In particular this has led to the recovery of seagrass meadows, a staple diet for turtles and dugong," the spokesperson said.

The department's stranding figures for the Rockhampton region indicate no dugongs have stranded in the area since 2011 and turtle stranding figures, 46 to June 30, have almost halved since 2011.

The spokesperson said strandings occur for a range of factors including the health of the animal concerned; availability of food; vessel strike or predation by other animals.

"EHP is not responsible for oceanic water quality but does become involved in pollution events that impact on these waters," the spokesperson said.

QITRC is always looking for volunteers who can help drive sick turtles between Rockhampton and Gladstone.

If you can help - or if you find a sick or injured turtle - please call the turtle phone on 0408 431 304.

survival stats

Agnes Water 73%

Boyne region 60%

Gladstone 63%

The Reef 100%

Bundaberg/

  South 57%

Rosslyn Bay 52%

Turtle Taxi

QITRC is always looking for volunteers that can help drive sick turtles between Rockhampton and Gladstone.

If you can help - or if you find a sick or injured turtle - please call the turtle phone on 0408 431 304.



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