Our native freshwater turtles are dying as a result of 'common practice' by our freshwater fishers.
People, I really need help with this one please?
Stainless steel hooks are being swallowed by turtles very frequently when the lines are cut which is common practice for our fisher friends to do to release them. They are also caught in their mouths and can stop them from eating, resulting in a slow and painful death. Stainless steel hooks will not rust, and eventually can, and do make their way through the turtle until they hit a major organ, which has been proven to kill them up to 15 years later.
There was a case of a Broad-shelled turtle that was handed into Taronga Zoo that died after it had been in captivity for 15 years, due to a hook that eventually migrated its way out of its gastrointestinal tract and into its liver. This wouldn't have happened if the hook wasn't stainless steel. It would have rusted away instead.
Dear Honourable Ministers,
We would like to bring to your attention the devastating affects that stainless steel fish hooks are having on our native freshwater turtles within Queensland's freshwater waterways. Stainless steel fish hooks need to be banned urgently and the law needs to be enforced accordingly.
Being protected vertebrate animals (under the NCA 1992 & in some instances the EPBC Act 1999) the impact that these hooks have should be taken very seriously. It is common practice for freshwater fishers to cut the fishing line and leave the hook after unintentionally catching turtles as by-catch. There is evidence proving that stainless steel hooks can cause fatalities 15 years after ingestion, as the hooks do not rust and disintegrate like conventional hooks. Apart from this, any hook left in a turtles' mouth can effectively block the passage of food and cause starvation. With 33% of the freshwater turtle species in Queensland being currently threatened with extinction, this ban would protect them from further unnecessary decline.
We the undersigned respectively request you table this matter in Parliament, amend the appropriate legislation, impose the ban and enforce it as required.