I arrived in Darwin for the first time in early 1965 and stopped living here in 1985 but have regularly returned either for fishing or academic activity (usually a combination of both). Over the years I must have walked every metre of the beach from Frances Bay to Buffalo Creek and in addition over the years have done a lot of boating from the Peron Islands to Cobourg Peninsular.
This year I have been in Darwin since the beginning of April and with a few notable exceptions at the Perons have caught few fish and no crabs. I have noticed the regular reports of pollution at Darwin beaches and have been surprised about the scarcity of mullet, sardines and other bait fish. The reason there are few small fish in the shallows is due to the absence of plankton and other food on which they feed. Clearly the pollutants deriving from the combination wharf chemical spills, sewerage effluent, Harbour side “developments”, and “engineering developments” in and around the Harbour and its foreshores have killed planktonic larvae.
It is reassuring to learn that the rich and powerful in Darwin have learnt little and care less about the health of the Harbour and will let the promoters of a LNG refinery blast the bottom of the Harbour 3 times a day for 14 months.
Dr John Tomlinson
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