Unattended fishing gear in Moreton Bay is killing turtles.

GHASTLY END: The turtle with the crab pot line entangled in its flippers. It would have died an agonising death.
GHASTLY END: The turtle with the crab pot line entangled in its flippers. It would have died an agonising death.

POINT Halloran resident Bill Weatherilt reckons it is about time fishermen started looking after their fishing gear a bit better, especially crab pots.

Mr Weatherilt found a big turtle killed in a crab point anchor line at Point Halloran.

He said it was obvious the animal would have died in great pain as the rope had cut into a front flipper.

“An animal this big is probably close to 100 years old,’’ he said. “He’s been around a lot longer than you and I.’’

Mr Weatherilt said it was sad when such an animal was killed by poor practices like crab pots being left unattended for long periods.

Places like Point Halloran, Wellington and Cleveland points regularly have crab pots wash ashore although many fisherman claim that when pots disappear, it is due to them being stolen by other fishers.

It comes as Environment Minister Steven Miles launches online training for people who want to help marine turtles stranded on the Great Barrier Reef and Moreton Bay coasts.

The training package has been developed by the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

Dr Miles said volunteers were responding to about 60 percent of marine animal strandings and online training was expected to increase this response rate.

“Marine turtles are the most common animals to strand on our coast each year,” Dr Miles said. “Numbers over recent years have varied between about 900 and 1800 per year.

"Reasons for stranding include disease, starvation, boat strike, entanglement, predation, and ingestion of marine debris.

“...Our volunteers and rehab centres need plenty more people to help them with this important task.”

Dr Miles said data collection from strandings was critical and had helped introduce protection measures like Moreton Bay go slow areas.

Fishers and boaties should avoid shallow seagrass areas, look out for turtles and dugong, check crab pots regularly and not leave fishing gear or plastic bags behind. Boaties also should know where to go slow and stick to regulations.

Anyone interested in the training package should go to https://www.ehp.qld.gov.au/wildlife/caring-for-wildlife/marine_strandings.html

Strandings can be reported through the RSPCA Hotline 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).