Due to drought in Australia, millions of fish died: 65 km of the river are covered with corpses - ForumDaily
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Due to drought in Australia, millions of fish died: 65 km of the river are covered with corpses

In the southeast of Australia, which is suffering from extreme heat, the surface of the Darling River near the town of Menindee was covered with millions of dead fish bodies. Writes about it TSN.

Photo: IStock

The NSW government has confirmed the death of fish along a 65-kilometer section of the river.

This was due to the fact that after the recent floods, the water level in the river rose, which allowed the fish to breed and feel good. And now a drought has come, and such a huge number of fish simply have nothing to breathe.

The biggest victims were herring and carp populations.

The situation will only get worse, as the temperature on Saturday, March 18, reached 41 ° C, writes The Guardian.

“The smell is simply outrageous,” said Graham McCrabb, a resident of the city. “Imagine the aromas when you put a dead fish in a shell and leave it to rot for a few days. And there are millions of them."

Rotting fish and hot weather in the coming days are likely to further deplete the water for oxygen, experts said.

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“There are a lot of fish there. This wall of dead is moving downstream," said McCrabb, who believes any attempt to clean up the rotting bodies would be "futile" due to the sheer scale of the task.

He said waterfowl in the region, particularly cormorants and kites, took advantage of the opportunity to feed.

On March 17, Australia's Department of Primary Industries said fish deaths were linked to low oxygen levels as the region's extreme January flooding receded.

When nutrients and organic matter entered the river, it pulled oxygen out of the water, and the current hot conditions have further exacerbated the oxygen starvation known as hypoxia.

Environment Minister Tanja Plibersek said she was "devastated" after seeing the photos of the dead fish and called the whole thing a huge tragedy.

“We need to understand the causes of these deaths in order to better prevent them,” she urged.

The official said that replenishing the Murray-Darling Basin "in full" will help restore native fish populations.

In the summer of 2018-2019, a series of massive fish deaths occurred in the same area of ​​the reservoir, which prompted an independent review.

Professor Fran Sheldon, of the Australian River Institute at Griffith University and member of the panel of experts, observed that when the fish begins to rot, this will lead to a further decrease in oxygen in the water.

She said the bream boom was a natural occurrence and many of that population would have died anyway due to lack of food.

During the flood, all fish took advantage of the opportunity to breed, she said, but bream are particularly sensitive to lack of oxygen and less able to find escape routes than species such as cod.

Sheldon explained that the release of water stored downstream can stop the spread of poor quality water, while upstream regulators should consider limiting the amount of water used for irrigation to allow the river to recover.

Professor Lee Baumgartner, a fish ecologist and member of the panel, said the fish deaths are "like groundhog day."

According to him, the commission recommended improving operational strategies so that local and federal agencies can respond more quickly to potential fish deaths.

“During our review of events in 2018-2019, we found that the climate in the area has changed significantly. We see that the transition from drought to flood and from flood to drought is happening faster than before,” he said.

The meteorological bureau said there is now a 50% chance of El Niño developing before the end of this year, raising the risk of hotter, drier conditions for the country's southeast.

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“This is worrying,” Baumgartner said.

NSW Green MP Kate Fehrmann said the fish kills are an "existential threat" to river health and water security.

“This is definitely a disaster, whether it is the result of receding floods or mismanagement of water resources. The NSW government and the federal government must act now to clean up the millions of rotting fish that cover miles of the river,” she said.

Commonwealth Ecological Waters Holder Dr. Simon Banks said: “It is devastating to see the massive loss of native fish. Commonwealth agencies are providing support in response to this serious fish kill, including by providing environmental water to do everything possible to improve water quality.”

The timing, size and location of the release of water from the Menindee Lakes into the Darling River have been "adjusted based on conditions and local advice," he said.

“Unfortunately, under these conditions, the possibilities for intervention are limited, but the agencies continue to monitor the situation and respond to the extent possible,” he concluded.

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