Low levels of oxygen in Australia's second longest river were to blame for a mass fish die-off recently in a remote part of New South Wales state, environmental authorities have said.
Hundreds of thousands of dead fish have been found this week in the Darling River near the town of Menindee, around 1,000km west of the state capital, Sydney.
It follows fish deaths in the same area in 2018 and 2019 where up to a million fish died from poor water flow, poor water quality, and sudden temperature changes.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment's water division said on Twitter that "dissolved oxygen levels remain a concern for fish health" in the area.
"There is a large number of fish deaths (predominantly Bony Herring) in the Darling River between Lake Wetherell and Menindee township," the agency said yesterday.
Hundreds of thousands of dead fish had been found in the river, and state fisheries officers had been sent to the area to assess the issue, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Footage posted to Twitter by SBS showed a boat navigating through thousands of dead fish blanketing the entire surface of the river.
The state planning and environment agency warned river oxygen levels could fall further this weekend as temperatures rise, before cooler conditions return next week.
There are concerns about the impact it could have on the local Indigenous community.
"When it's like it is now, it's just a feeling of hopelessness, that no one wants to take any responsibility for it. And really all we want is to maintain a healthy river," said Michelle Kelly, a spokesperson for the Menindee Local Aboriginal Land Council, adding that mass fish deaths like this could cause depression in the community.
Low levels of oxygen in Australia's second longest river were to blame for a mass fish die-off recently in a remote part of New South Wales state that saw hundreds of thousands of dead fish found in the Darling River | Read more: https://t.co/9TifUSXGjL pic.twitter.com/lJUBI0Tza2— RTÉ News (@rtenews) March 18, 2023