18 Jan 2015

Get Smart on Sewage

A tuna from Stokes Hill Wharf in the 1990s. Picture: HIRO NAKAMURA

There were many schools of longtail tuna in front of Stokes Hill Wharf at the very beginning of the 1990's. 
I used to easily catch some longtail tuna on lure there.

The seawater was sometimes transparent like glass.
I could see many groups of nice-sized fish swimming in the water, whether I could catch them on lures or not.
I think that it was a very healthy sea.

Did you see any schools of longtail tuna from the jetty these days?
Also, I haven’t seen many schools of mullet swimming on the sea surface around the shores near Mindil Beach, Fannie Bay and East Point since 2011.

On the other hand, the seawater is still in some places maintained under a healthy condition in Darwin Harbour.

We might depend too much on the self-cleaning function caused by the large tidal movements around Darwin.

I received the following email from a reader of my blog:

“Hi Hiro,

I have been fishing Darwin Harbour for 20 years this year, the last seven have been spent land-based fishing mainly between Lee Point and Fanny Bay – similar to you.

“I have noticed too a marked drop-off in the numbers of fish in this area for the last 3-4 years for example 4-5 years ago it was not uncommon to go out and catch my bag limit of legal-sized barra.

It was not uncommon to tangle with meter+ ones either – not recently....

“For what it’s worth here is what I think is wrong. In a word – sewerage.

“The poorly treated sewage being released from East Point and Buffalo Creek is feeding toxic algal blooms which are driving away the fish – not killing them, just driving them away, which might explain why the barra fishing in the Harbour overall has been good the last few years.

“Last year the blooms were the worst I have seen. Consider this – in the last 3-4 years all the sewage that used to be pumped off Larrakeyah has been diverted to Ludmilla, which means all that s*** now ends up on our fishing flats.

“The new suburb of Lyons is adding additional load to an already overloaded Buffalo Creek system as well.

“I don’t remember beaches being shut before due to ecoli either.

“Let’s be clear – the algal blooms are natural events but the sewage acts like fertiliser making them much, much worse.

“The Government know about this but don’t want to spend the money to bring our system up to scratch, it’s 2015, and a capital city of Australia still has third-world water treatment facilities – it’s a bloody embarrassment.

“I think we need to make as much noise as possible and get the Government to fix this problem before things get any worse.”

Please click on the " Fishing of Ranking" link. 
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Thank you very much.