‘I feel vindicated… this has been pretty hellish on me’

http://www.gladstoneobserver.com.au/news/water-quality-report-vindicates-fishers/2056829/

'I feel vindicated... this has been pretty hellish on me'

  • 19th Oct 2013 7:48 AM

Simon Whittingham feels vindicated by the latest report on Gladstone harbour.
Simon Whittingham feels vindicated by the latest report on Gladstone harbour. Brenda Strong

GLADSTONE fish market owner Simon Whittingham feels vindicated by the release of a new water quality report that surfaced last week.

He said those in the fishing industry had been constantly told nothing was wrong.

Newly-released report blames dredging for harbour woes

"We were adamantly told that it wasn't the dredging, that it was the result of the floods of the summer, and we shouldn't be concerned," he said.

"Commercial fishers were screaming about the condition of product back in 2011 and with the dredging development things were getting worse ... it's been ongoing."

He said the Queensland Seafood Industry Association chair Michael Gardner still wanted answers on the impacts of Gladstone harbour, which he fully backed.

"I've been on that water most of my life and I knew something was wrong. It wasn't right, and for them to tell me nothing was wrong was such a difficult thing," he said.

"I feel vindicated ... this has been pretty hellish on me and my family."

Queensland Seafood Industry Association chair Michael Gardner has put his thoughts on the line in the latest seafood industry magazine, saying that previous reports and investigations had all been slanted towards protecting the development in the Western Basin.

"The government machine and the GPC made sure the QSIA and the industry were seen to be the villains in the piece and irrelevant," he said, "while saying ... if there were any sick fish or marine animals other than barramundi, which was debatable, then it had nothing to do with the development in the Western Basin.

"There is evidence that the great white knights of the GPC were withholding, as well as manipulating, reports that in fact did have implications for fish, marine animal and human health issues," he said.

Mr Gardner said it seemed clear there had been non-disclosure of information that should have been publicly available and that may have influenced the outcomes from the science panel and the compensation process.

"This warrants further investigation," he said.