‘Unusual’ turtle death prompts investigation
TWO flippers found discarded on a muddy bank of the Pioneer River shocked and saddened turtle advocate Fay Griffin.
On Wednesday afternoon the Department of Environment and Science was alerted to a report of a pile of fish frames and the turtle remains near Riverside Dr at Cremorne.
Ms Griffin, the Mackay and District Turtle Watch Association spokeswoman, said it would have been traumatic for any person to see the turtle remains.
"They are protected - all marine turtles are protected by law," she said
A DES spokeswoman said officers were investigating the incident,
The maximum penalty for illegally killing a marine turtle is $133,000.
But, Ms Griffin said even if Wednesday's discovery was part of traditional hunting practices, the discarded remains were still highly unusual.
"It doesn't happen very often," she said.
"I've never heard of them being taken anywhere near the Pioneer River … particularly so far up the river".
Ms Griffin said turtle hunting was usually conducted further north, or out to sea - not on the edge of the city heart.
With nesting season beginning for the flatback turtles, and the green turtles living in the region all year round, Ms Griffin said it would be difficult to known which species had been killed.
The DES spokeswoman said the discarded remains of the fish and turtles also posed a crocodile risk.
"People should not feed crocodiles or leave fish scraps or other deceased marine life near the water's edge or at boat ramps, as this could attract crocodiles and put people in danger," she said.
Anyone with information about the incident is urged to phone the DES on 1300 130 372 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.