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Mass fish deaths in one weekend spark outrage in Australia

Digital writers

Wednesday, January 9, 2019, 2:23 PM - The death of thousands of fish in New South Wales, Australia last weekend has sparked outrage.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries launched an investigation into the incident, which occurred at Darling River in Menindee. According to the agency, the mass deaths could have been caused by ongoing drought conditions and a temperature drop.

“After a very hot period, a sharp cool change hit the Menindee region over the weekend, with large temperature drops experienced,” the DPI said in a statement.

(RELATED: Beaches closed after thousands stung by jellyfish along Australian coast)

“This sudden drop in temperature may have disrupted an existing algal bloom at Menindee, killing the algae and resulting in the depletion of dissolved oxygen.”

But a video shared to Facebook by residents Dick Arnold and Rob McBride blamed the die-off on excessive draining of the rivers, by WaterNSW, for irrigation.

As at January 9, there was 3.5 per cent of water remaining in the lakes, according to the WaterNSW website.

“This is nothing to do with drought. This is a man made disaster. This is a result of draining the Menindee Lakes twice in four years, killing the system,” McBride scan be heard saying in the video.

“This fish is a hundred years old. It’s never coming back. This is bloody disgraceful,” he says.

This marks the second mass fish kill in the Menindee Lakes in a three week-period.

On December 21, 2018, another fish kill occurred in Menindee. Nearby Namoi River at Keepit Dam and Lachlan River at Wyangala Dam also experienced widespread fish deaths, according to the DPI.


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