Love renews call for protective groyne at Jurien as fish die in seagrass wrack

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Harvey Holland, 6, and Sonny Holland, 3, were disappointed to find the beach at Jurien littered with dead fish on their holiday.
Camera IconHarvey Holland, 6, and Sonny Holland, 3, were disappointed to find the beach at Jurien littered with dead fish on their holiday. Credit: Ian Stiles/Ian Stiles

Jurien Bay has had another fish kill, with seagrass wrack near the marina littered with rotting carcasses.

Resident Ian Stiles said he spotted the mess on Sunday morning with his grandchildren from Paraburdoo.

“Unfortunately their holidays now are a bit kaput because of it,” he said.

“It is quite sad because there were some decent looking mullet and a big cobbler and a lot of small bream and crabs.”

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Mr Stiles said winter storms uprooted seagrass which entered the marina.

“It sinks to the bottom and dies, and decomposing it forms H2S (hydrogen sulfide) gas and sucks the oxygen out of the water and we end up with dead fish,” he said.

“Every other marina from Fremantle to Geraldton has a groyne which protects the marina from seaweed and sand.”

Member for Moore Shane Love said the smell deterred tourists.

“The fish kills are also impacting on the residential blocks in the vicinity of the marina,” he said.

“The stench is noticeable to those residents living within 500 metres of the marina.”

Mr Love has campaigned for a groyne since 2004 and asked questions in Parliament several times, most recently last year.

The Midwest Times understands a groyne has been priced at $7 million.

Fish kills are understood to occur when fish have no dissolved oxygen in the water to breathe through their gills.

Department of Transport director Steve Jenkins said dissolved oxygen levels had again deteriorated in the harbour in the past week with further ingress of seagrass as a result of winter storms.

He said dredging had affectively removed accumulated seagrass wrack in the past.

“DoT has recently serviced its water quality monitoring equipment and is planning dredging in the harbour in early 2021,” Mr Jenkins said.

“In the interim and until remedial structural works can be undertaken, DoT will continue to liaise closely with local authorities in relation to any water quality impacts and any clean up requirements.”

Mr Jenkins said his department continued to monitor the problem.

“DoT is liaising with the Shire of Dandaragan and Shire of Dandaragan Rangers have installed beach closed signage at Jurien Bay Boat Harbour,” he said.

“The DoT maintenance contractor is monitoring the seaweed and any dead fish on the beach and is clearing the beach daily at low tide.”

Mr Jenkins said the dead fish should not be handled or eaten.

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