I told you so,? says Bellinger campaigner
By UTE SCHULENBERG
WARREN Tindall is not surprised high e-coli levels have temporarily halted oyster harvesting in the Bellinger River.
He has been warning of such problems for years as part of his ongoing campaign to have cattle kept out of waterways.
"This debate will be channelled into doing water testing to identify the source and that's as far as it goes," Mr Tindall said.
"Exclusion of livestock from rivers is what is needed but many farmers are resistant to the idea and the farming lobby are a much more powerful lobby group than the fishermen.
"It comes down to numbers."
He said the catchament management process kept pussyfooting around this issue.
"Whenever animal sources are identified, the lobby groups blame wallabies and the cost," he said.
"But a wallaby only weighs 10 kilograms, whereas a cow weighs more than 500! And as to the cost ? electric fencing is cheap and mobile. It can be erected in a few hours and removed if a flood is threatening."
Chair of the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA), Judy Henderson, said the CMA did a lot of stock-exclusion work with farmers.
"Fencing and other processes are used and the CMA is working in many river systems," Mrs Henderson said.
She said a CMA representative was present at the meeting with Bellinger River oyster farmers last week.
"We want to have an understanding of the issues and be part of the solution.
"This issue is difficult because it is not clear where the pollution source is coming from.
"We are as concerned as anyone else about an industry stopped because of water quality issues and are keen to see this resolved."