Moreton Bay dolphin, turtle deaths ‘a coincidence’
Friday, September 4, 2009, 4:49 pm
Three dolphins and five turtles have been found dead at Moreton Bay, Dunwich, Ormiston and Victoria Point over the past two weeks.
The marine deaths seem to be a coincidence rather than a direct result of pollution, says Kathy Townsen, manager of research and education at Moreton Bay Research Station.
Ms Townsen researches the impact of ingested rubbish on marine life at Moreton Bay and Dunwich along with the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
“The feeling I have is that the dolphin and turtle deaths have been more of a coincidence that anything else. The two dolphins were quite badly decomposed and had bites taken out of them by other marine life,” she said.
“We believe they would have died weeks prior to this and then washed up in the bay around the same time.”
She says it is common for dead marine life to wash up after increased human activity on the water.
“Don’t forget that the weekend the dolphins were found a lot of boats had been out on the water for the first time this season, meaning it is more likely for injured animals to be noticed.”
Ms Townsen says she found two turtle carcasses at North Stradbroke Island recently, also a common occurrence.
“It is not an unusual thing to find two turtle carcasses at this time of year, in fact this regularly occurs as turtles die making their way back from feeding.
“If they started the winter period in a compromised position with a lack of food and were getting ill, they may not live through to the next season. This is a common situation we see each year.”
Ms Townsen says she has not seen a direct link between increased pollution harming marine life since the Pacific Adventurer oil spill in March.