Gladstone Harbour - Fish Health

Latest fish health test and monitoring results available below.

After receiving reports of ill fish in Gladstone, the Queensland Government launched an investigation into fish and water health, which has now been completed.

For information on the Queensland Government investigation, including water and sediment quality, air quality, fish health, community engagement and marine wildlife strandings, visit the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website.

The results of specifically the fish health investigation are as follows.

Fish sampling and testing

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries has completed its investigation of fish health in Gladstone and found the 2011 floods were the main contributor to ill health.

The only factor that was different in 2011 compared to previous and following years was the significant rainfall, the subsequent flooding and introduction of large numbers of fish from Lake Awoonga, which stressed the ecosystem. This stress led to fish being more susceptible to ill health, particularly parasites that contributed to the conditions observed in fish.

Test results confirmed the parasitic flatworm (skin fluke) on some barramundi caught in the Gladstone area. Find out more about the parasitic flatworm .

A different parasitic flatworm was identified on sharks. Shell erosion was detected on crabs and prawns, which is due to relatively common bacteria.

Fish health in Gladstone has now returned to a more normal situation, with market reports finding most fish in good condition and a low incidence of shell erosion on mud crabs.

Latest reports

Fact sheets on findings

Past reports

Other investigations around Gladstone

Fishing closure lifted Friday 7 October 2011

Fisheries Queensland put a temporary closure in place on all fishing in an area centred on Gladstone Harbour in September 2011 while the Queensland Government investigated a condition affecting some locally caught fish.

All commercial, recreational and charter activities were again permitted in the area as of Friday 7 October 2011.

The closure was lifted as the identified conditions affecting fish were not linked to human health.

Find out more about the lifting of the closure (PDF, 228.3KB).

Water quality testing

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection conducted water quality testing and monitoring in the Gladstone area.

Results from water quality analysis and fish testing confirmed fish in Gladstone waters were not considered a food safety or human health issue.

Environmental reports

As part of the Western Basin Dredging and Disposal Project, the Gladstone Ports Corporation makes environmental reports available to the public.

Human health

An investigation by Queensland Health found no link between disease in fish from Gladstone Harbour and its surrounds, and human health. For more information regarding the Queensland Health investigation, see Gladstone Harbour frequently asked questions (FAQs). If you have any health concerns after handling seafood caught in the Gladstone Harbour area, see your GP or contact Queensland Health on 13HEALTH (13 432 584) for advice.

Supply of seafood in the Gladstone region

All seafood that is supplied for human consumption must meet national standards for suitability and food safety. Products affected with lesions or other visible signs of disease or illness should not be filleted, gutted or otherwise processed. Affected product should be isolated and disposed of. Notification should be provided to Safe Food Production Queensland (SFPQ). For more information, visit the SFPQ website. Seafood available through retail outlets continues to be safe to purchase and eat and this is backed by stringent national standards for food safety.

Tips on identifying suitable products are available from SFPQ.

Financial assistance service

The federal Department of Agriculture offers a free financial counselling service for primary producers including fishers. The service can help with managing the financial effects of changes in seasonal conditions, natural disasters and the marketplace.

Financial counsellors can help you:

  • understand and develop improved financial management
  • communicate and negotiate with financial institutions
  • identify and assess the financial impact of different options
  • compare the viability of various enterprises
  • prepare applications for loans and government assistance schemes.

Further information can be found on the Department of Agriculture website or call 1800 686 175.

Further information


Last updated 02 September 2016