Environment Minister Vicky Darling is taken to see the Little Sea Hill Lighthouse on North Curtis Island.
Environment Minister Vicky Darling is taken to see the Little Sea Hill Lighthouse on North Curtis Island. Brenda Strong

Findings will be made public

ENVIRONMENT Minister Vicky Darling flew into Gladstone yesterday to address the community's growing anxiety over marine animal deaths.

The minister was invited to the region by Gladstone Region Mayor Gail Sellers.

Cr Sellers has been calling for the Scientific Advisory Committee to release specific data on the deaths of turtles, dugongs and dolphins this year.

Ms Darling did not release that information yesterday, but told reporters the data would be appearing on the Department of Environment and Resource Management (DERM) website on Monday.

"At the beginning of next week it will be posted on the website," she said.

"The scientific panel has had a look through a possible range of causes (of marine animal deaths)."

She said the committee had examined commercial net fishing, seagrass beds and water quality in the area.

"They have come up with a series of recommendations for DERM.

"I have actioned those recommendations."

Ms Darling said the evidence pointed clearly to seagrass depletion.

"It's not a situation unique to Gladstone. It is affecting wildlife up and down Queensland," she said.

Cr Sellers said she was happy with the minister's response to her concerns, and the information provided on Monday would go a long way to clearing confusion in the community.

Ms Darling used her media conference at Spinnaker Park to announce a new initiative to rehabilitate seagrass beds in the Port Curtis.

She said DERM would be calling for tenders from researchers and scientists to undertake a program to rehabilitate and improve the resilience of seagrass beds.

"The scientific evidence is that, in addition to starvation, marine animals are weakened and become more susceptible to other direct impacts such as netting and boat strike," Ms Darling said.

World Wildlife Fund Queensland manager Nick Heath said the Minister's announcement for a program of seagrass rehabilitation was worth trying as an experiment, but only time would tell if it would be successful.

"It's expensive. It's difficult to manage all the variables. We believe prevention is better than cure," Mr Heath said.