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Hays Inlet Water Quality
Written by Meade Murphy
Created / Updated on Thursday 24th of March 2022

For over 20 years, new members wanting to join the Redcliffe City Amateur Anglers Fishing Club (RCAA) have asked why we don’t fish the Hays Inlet Estuary. It has been hard to reply, as we can’t get our average 16 fish/person. The average club fisher person spends on average $100.00 per trip on bait, tackle, beer, fuel, ice etc. When you divide this by 16 it works out to be $6.25 per fish, Hays Inlet would work out to be on average $20.00 per fish as it is a failed estuary system. Our data from Caloundra to the Nerang River proves that we can achieve this 16 fish per person at every estuary system, except for Hays Inlet. For years we have wondered why. Fisheries Queensland’s green and yellow zones, bag limits, size limits etc. have worked amazingly pretty much throughout the whole of Queensland, making the Queensland fishery one of the best in the western world. But we cannot explain why Hays Inlet fails. Many members thought it was illegal netting happening in the inlet as commercial netters can net a yellow zone for bait and may have been taking the whiting as a by-catch.

To our amazement the local residents have informed us six weeks ago that a pair of dugong have moved into Hays Inlet to eat on the newly formed seagrass. They showed me photos which I posted with the last news article I published. This highlighted the mystery of Hays Inlet even more – so why has the seagrass all of a sudden grown back after all these years? It was only 10 days ago that we came into possession of the Unity Water’s Redcliffe Sewage Treatment Plant – The Road to Recovery Report. It had become evident with this report that the Inlet has been slowly poisoned and polluted with chemical disinfectant discharge for at least two decades. This is the reason why we have towed our boats an hour north to Caloundra and an hour south to Jumpinpin, spending countless money on fuel to achieve our 16 fish. This means when Hays Inlet became an international listed RAMSAR wetland in 1993, the local government was releasing harmful chemicals even back then. Why didn’t the federal government test the water on a regular basis? In 2008, SQAFCA, QAFCA & Sunfish negotiated a deal with the state government to make Hays Inlet a yellow and green zone, why wasn’t the water quality tested then? It appears that the state government talks about sustainability, of which the local government then destroys. Where’s the federal government on this? A RAMSAR comes under federal law. So now we believe Unity Water has spent millions of dollars upgrading this sewerage system to what we hope is the new environmental UV system and that is why we believe the seagrass has come back. I can’t see the whiting coming back for many years unless all three levels of government agree to do a whiting fingerling release. We also believe that Hays Inlet should also become the next ROFA or net-free zone to protect this beautiful natural habitat that beholds one of the best sunsets in the world. It could become one of the best fishing tourism destinations in the world if it is only given a chance to breed some fish.

Meade Murphy
Publicity Officer

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