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Investigation Into Sunshine Coast Fish Deaths

AUSTRALIA - The Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) is conducting an ongoing investigation into reports of fish deaths at a Sunshine Coast hatchery. The hatchery is the centre of an allegation over hundreds of thousands of two-headed fish larvae.

The initial investigation, which began a couple of years ago, was discontinued because no breaches of chemical use could be identified, and there was a lack of evidence to support further actions.

The investigation was reopened when new complaints about fish health were reported in 2008. A fish pathologist and an aquaculture officer visited the fish hatchery to undertake a thorough assessment of fish health.

A biosecurity inspector has also visited the adjoining macadamia farm and examined its records and its spraying techniques.

Testing has involved samples taken from water, fish, fish eggs, chickens and horses.

To date, test results have found no evidence that chemicals used on the adjoining macadamia property have been used contrary to the label instructions, and they have also excluded the presence of infectious diseases.

There is no risk of any contaminated fish entering the food chain as this hatchery only supplies fingerlings, which are grown out elsewhere.

Samples of the pond water at the hatchery were negative for chemical residues. Samples from dead fish collected by the owner are awaiting finalisation and results should be available by February.

However, these types of investigations are complex and notoriously difficult to identify the cause of the problem.

DPI&F will continue to monitor the hatchery and the activities at the site in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority as part of the investigation.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

the Fish Site Editor

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