Associated Press: CANBERRA, Australia — Millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia in a die-off that authorities and scientists say is caused by depleted oxygen levels in the river after recent floods and hot weather.
Residents of the Outback town of Menindee in New South Wales state complained of a terrible smell from the dead fish.
“The stink was terrible. I nearly had to put a mask on,” said local nature photographer Geoff Looney.
“I was worried about my own health. That water right in the top comes down to our pumping station for the town. People north of Menindee say there’s cod and perch floating down the river everywhere,” he said.
The Department of Primary Industries said the fish deaths were likely caused by low oxygen levels as floods recede, a situation made worse by fish needing more oxygen because of the warmer weather.
Police have established an emergency operations centre in Menindee to coordinate a massive cleanup this week.
State Emergency Operations Controller Peter Thurtell said the immediate focus was to provide a clean water supply to residents.
“There is no need for community concern as the initial assessment has determined multiple viable solutions to maintain water supply to the Menindee township and surrounds,” he said.
Top Feature Photo: In this image from video, dead fish float on the surface of the lower Darling-Baaka River near the New South Wales state far west town of Menindee, Australia, on Saturday, March 18, 2023. The Department of Primary Industries in New South Wales state said the fish deaths coincided with a heat wave that put stress on a system that has experienced extreme conditions from wide-scale flooding – Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP