Turtles sicker in Yeppoon than in Gladstone

ON the surface Rosslyn Bay is a perfect destination compared to the muddy waters of Gladstone harbour, but new statistics show that more sick turtles make it back to the ocean from Gladstone than Yeppoon.

A third of the sick animals taken to the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre off the coast of Gladstone come from Rosslyn Bay, and the centre is able to save 50% compared to the 60-70% it can save from Gladstone harbour.

Centre founder Bob McCosker believes that despite appearances, the water in Rosslyn Bay is in worse condition than Gladstone harbour, and says funds and research should be focused further up north.

Speaking at a breakfast event last week, he told the audience 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 due to the "pristine waters" up 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 dirt,y 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.

"At Gladstone harbour we're saving 60-70%, which to me implies the waters around Rosslyn Bay are in worse condition than the ones they say we're dealing with here."

Mr McCosker said due to the perception the harbour was sick, all the funds were focused in Gladstone.

"There's tens of millions of dollars being spent on research on Gladstone harbour and on turtles and marine life, whereas I'd prefer these guys to be looking further up the coast," he said.

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

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

Survival stats by region:

  • Agnes Water 73%
  • Boyne region 60%
  • Gladstone 63%
  • The Reef 100%
  • Bundaberg/South 57%
  • Rosslyn Bay 52%


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