Millions of dead fish washed up amid heat wave in Australia
Millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia in what authorities and scientists say was caused by flooding and hot weather
CANBERRA, Australia — Millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia in what authorities and scientists say is caused by flooding and hot weather.
The New South Wales state Department of Primary Industries said the fish kills coincided with a heat wave that strained a system that has seen extreme conditions from high-pressure flooding. ladder.
The deaths were likely caused by low oxygen levels as the floods recede, a situation made worse by fish needing more oxygen due to the warmer weather, the department said.
Residents of the Outback town of Menindee have complained of a terrible smell of dead fish.
“We just started cleaning up, and then it happened, and it’s kind of like you’re walking through a dried-up mess and you smell this putrid smell. It’s a terrible and horrible smell to see all these dead fish,” said local resident Jan Dening.
Wildlife photographer Geoff Looney found huge clusters of dead fish near Menindee’s main spillway Thursday night.
“The stench was terrible. I almost had to put on a mask,” Looney said. “I was worried about my own health. That water up top comes down to our pumphouse for the town. People north of Menindee say there’s cod and perch floating all over the river.”
Massive killings have been reported on the Darling-Baaka River in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of fish were found at the same location in late February, while several cases of dead fish were reported downstream towards Pooncarie, near the state borders of South Australia and Victoria.
Huge fish kills occurred on the river in Menindee during severe drought conditions in late 2018 and early 2019, with locals estimating millions dead.