Monday, March 23, 2009

Dead Queensland Groper at Nind creek

I just received a email this morning from Ellie, the president of CAFNEC. This fish was about 10 km from the dead Ella Bay fish. It’s a different fish to mine (see this post) as this one had no spine.Ellie says:
We photographed this groper head in the Nind's creek - Johnstone River estuary on 17 December 2008. A fishing friend of ours also advises that when gropers are hooked and bought to the surface for release their air bladders tend to rupture and thus they cannot re-submerge even if successfully released, plus floating on the top of the water makes them prime targets for sharks and crocs. We suspect that's what happened to this one.

Maybe the two heads are the same fish (poor fish)...... I vividly recall swimming with a graceful old senior groper at Clump Reef off Clump Point at Mission when I was in grade 7 on a school camp excursion - they are massive and amazing. The one we swam with at the time was reliably reckoned to be over 100 years old. The appaling thing was that 2 weeks after that wonderful experience some bastards shot that particular fish with their shotguns. In hindsight, perhaps this was a pivitol catalyst in me becoming concerned about the environment and fellow creatures.... I also clearly remember my favourite t-shirt and its slogan at the time: Half blue, half black with the words "Oil and Water Don't Mix"

1 comment:

  1. Post mortem analyses revealed the cause of death of the groupers between Innisfail and Cooktown (mostly around Cairns) to be septicemia. This could result from barotrauma as you suggest but the deaths have occurred in shallow water environments, which makes it unlikely. Also, given the spike in deaths and the fact that one species accounts for the overwhelming majority of the deaths, it is also unlikely that fishing played any part at all. If it had, the frequency of deaths would be relatively regular and more species would be suffering that fate. These species move around a fair bit. They aggregate to spawn and while you might find a big male seemingly resident in a deepwater passage, they are common in estuaries. We need to radio tag a good cross section of age cohorts and find out where they go, when and why. This way we might be able to figure out why over a two or three month period, they were dropping like flies.


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