Two-headed fish larvae blamed on farm chemicals in Australian river

January 13th, 2009 - 4:27 pm ICT by ANI  

Canberra, Jan 13 (ANI): Scientists have blamed the presence of millions of two-headed fish larvae, found in the Noosa River in Australia, on chemical contamination from farm runoff.

According to a report in news.com.au, the disfigured larvae are thought to have been affected by one of two popular farm chemicals, either the insecticide endosulphan or the fungicide carbendazim.

Former NSW (New South Wales) fisheries scientist and aquaculture veterinarian Matt Landos yesterday called on the Federal Government to ban the chemicals and urgently find replacements.

Dr Landos said that about 90 per cent of larvae spawned at the Sunland Fish Hatchery from bass taken from the river were deformed and all died within 48 hours.

It certainly looks like the fish have been exposed to something in the river, he said.

I wouldnt like to be having kids and living next to a place that uses these chemicals and I wouldnt like to be drinking tank water where they are in use, he added.

Hatchery owner Gwen Gilson blames chemicals used by macadamia farmers near her Boreen Point business for the deformities.

Some embryos split into two heads, some had two equal heads and a small tail and some had one big long head and a small tail coming out of the head, she said.

According to Dr Landos, the chemicals were potentially human carcinogens and could have entered the river through any number of sources such as spraying or run-off even though there was no evidence of improper use.

Carbendazim had a history of causing embryonic defects and had been banned in the US, while endosulphan was banned in New Zealand.

These chemicals mess up cell development, said Dr Landos. Theres no other plausible explanation for whats going on, he added.

Dr Landos and Dr Glanville said there was no danger for people either swimming or eating fish from the Noosa River because if chemicals were in the water, levels would likely be exceedingly low. (ANI)

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