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Yeppoon turtles on the sick list

GOING FREE: Volunteers watch a turtle being released back into the ocean after being rehabilitated at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre.
GOING FREE: Volunteers watch a turtle being released back into the ocean after being rehabilitated at the Quoin Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre. Mike Richards

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

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.

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

Speaking at a breakfast 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 because of 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 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."

Mr McCosker said owing 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.

"The strandings are a lot worse the further north you go, up towards Townsville and Cairns - they have massive issues up there."

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 - call the turtle phone on 0408 431 304.


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.


QITRC survival stats

Agnes Water 73%

Boyne region 60%

Gladstone 63%

The Reef 100%

Bundaberg/South 57%

Rosslyn Bay 52%

Topics:  gladstone harbour turtles



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