Daily News Roundup

December 10, 2020

 

THURSDAY DEC 10

Bird strikes are a well-known hazard to aircraft, but Brisbane Airport is grappling with some giant groupers, reports ABC Radio’s Jennifer Leake

The fish, some almost 1 metre long, are living in the airport’s drainage channels and feasting on other species.

Brisbane Airport’s wildlife management team is calling in experts from Sea World to help remove the giant groupers.

The dilemma emerged after juvenile groupers entered the drainage channels from Moreton Bay to gorge on schools of fish washing into the drains on the incoming tide.

Brisbane Airport Wildlife Manager Jackson Ring said the giant groupers are an unusual problem for the airport to manage.

“We’re coordinating a bit of a rescue operation at the moment with Sea World,” Mr Ring said.

“They’re going to give us a hand to try and relocate these fish, because they’re healthy specimens.

“We’d love to see them living somewhere else other that the airport’s drainage network.”

Mr Ring said the fat fish are now too large to escape the airport’s run-off canals.

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Video shows a glimpse of groupers swimming in Brisbane Airport’s drainage system

“We’ve got a drainage system that connects into Serpentine Inlet and Morton Bay and there are a number of grouper that have gotten through the security grate when they were smaller fish,” he said.

“On the incoming tide, they sit at the grate and feed on schools of fish coming in.

“They’ve gotten so big — almost a metre in size — and they can’t get back out.”

The tidal feeding frenzy by the groupers has even become a tourist attraction for locals in-the-know.

“Each day at high tide, a few people will stand around the dry net and just watch them go to work on all the schools of fish coming through on the incoming tide,” Mr Ring said.

“It’s not just grouper — we’ve got cod, mangrove jack and mud crab.”

The groupers are just one of the hundreds of other animals and reptiles Brisbane Airport must manage.

This baby crow was rescued after falling out of its nest at the airport.(Supplied: Brisbane Airport Corporation)

The wildlife management team monitors the airfield and high-risk sites like the runways, taxiways and aircraft and departure take off areas.

They also gather huge amounts of data about the species that inhabit a 13-kilometre zone around the airport.

The team is operational 24 hours a day and they come across all sorts of creatures during routine inspections.

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The Victorian Government is expecting the first 40,000 regional travel vouchers to be snapped up quickly when they are released tomorrow morning.

Under the $28 million scheme, the Government will provide 120,000 vouchers, valued at $200 each, in a bid to kickstart tourism spending to help regional Victoria rebound after the coronavirus lockdown.

The first 40,000 of the vouchers will be available tomorrow and can be used for travel between December 12 and January 22.

The vouchers will be redeemed after people travel to regional Victoria, and spend at least $400 on accommodation, experiences or tours.

Tourism and Major Events Minister Martin Pakula said he expected there to be very high demand for the vouchers.

“For this first tranche, I would expect demand to outstrip supply — that’s been the experience in other parts of the country,” he said.

“We’ve tried to be generous but 40,000 is the limit for the first tranche and each tranche.”

“It’s a perfect opportunity to enjoy an extra night’s accommodation on the weekend getaway, or experience one of our many tours or attractions,” Mr Pakula said.

Vouchers will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis through the Business Victoria website from 10:00am tomorrow.

The vouchers are limited to one per household, and travellers will be required to spend at least two nights in paid accommodation in regional Victoria.

People can apply for the vouchers even if they’ve already booked their accommodation.

Travel to the Mornington Peninsula and the Yarra Valley is eligible to be redeemed, even though parts of those areas were included in metropolitan Melbourne during the Stage 4 lockdown.

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The United States has been breaking coronavirus records on a daily basis, but this morning the nation hit a harrowing new milestone.

Overnight, the nation recorded more than 3000 covid-19 deaths in a single day, a pandemic record. That’s more than the entire death toll of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 which claimed the lives of 2,996 people.

Critics of the US Government’s handling of the crisis have reacted with anger to the news, pointing out the comparisons with the 9/11 death toll and the fact that the COVID toll is now surpassing it on a daily basis.

Meanwhile the number of new cases rose back above 200,000 and hospitalisations due to the virus hit a record for the third day in a row.

America reported more than 215,000 new cases for Tuesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the first time since December that the daily tally has topped 200,000.

New cases in California surpassed 20,000 for the sixth consecutive day, while Virginia reported its second-highest daily tally and infections in Idaho topped 2000 in a single day for the first time since the pandemic began.