Politicians are calling for the immediate removal of millions of dead fish clogging the lower Darling Barka River waterways near Menindee in the westernmost part of New South Wales (NSW).
The New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment said in a statement on Saturday that it will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep the community informed.
The department said the deaths of fish, mainly bony herring, were due to recent flooding and heat waves that caused very low levels of dissolved oxygen in rivers recorded earlier this week.
The statement added that this weekend’s extreme temperatures will exacerbate mortality and will likely lead to further fish deaths in the coming days.
Locals say the smell of rotting fish is terrible, and videos on social media show thick layers of floating fish in water that has turned a bright green hue in some sections of the river.
Perrin Davey, spokeswoman for the federal opposition Water, said the country and the NSW government should consider ways to dispose of spoiled fish as soon as possible.
Senator Davey proposed adopting aspects of the National Carp Management Program, created after six years of research into carp biocontrol strategies.
“One of the biggest concerns about carp biocontrol was what to do with the dead fish,” says Davey.
“The current natural phenomenon that we are seeing is that there are hundreds of thousands of dead fish floating along the Darling River, and the cleanup that scientists have been considering under the Carp Management Program. We offer you an opportunity to test your options.
“The current events are so urgent that we cannot go back to the drawing board. Urgent action is required,” she said.
Kate Furman, spokeswoman for NSW Green waters, said the fish should be removed as soon as possible before it decomposes and causes an ecological disaster.
“This is a categorical catastrophe. Whether this is due to flood recession or poor water management, the State of New South Wales and the Federal Government are committed to killing millions of fish along the many kilometers of rivers. We need to act now to clean up the rotten fish,” she said.
“All natural aspects of the river and the communities that depend on it are now threatened with a cascading collapse, and these rotting millions of fish are a pernicious tragedy. , further degrade water systems and water quality.”
Faehrmann said NSW and the federal government should work together to clean up the fish to prevent further deterioration of water quality.
The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting temperatures to reach 40 degrees Celsius this weekend in the westernmost part of New South Wales, and much of Australia’s east coast is scorching in unseasonable autumn heat.
One million fish died in 2019 from a 40-kilogram algal bloom in the same part of the river.
The 2019 event coincided with high temperatures in the southernmost part of the state and drought along river systems.
This week’s fish mortality is expected to exceed the 2019 event.