Millions of Fish Dead in Australia in Menindee (Download PDF)

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“Hundreds of thousands” of fish have died in drought-stricken Australia in the last few days and more mass deaths are likely to occur, the authorities warned. “Further fish deaths in the Darling River are anticipated as a significant number of fish have been observed under stress.

Image of Darling River Map

Image of Darling River Map

Image of Darling River Map

Sea of white of dead fish carpeted the waters near the south eastern Outback town of Menindee with scientists pointing to low water and oxygen levels as well as possibly toxic algae- mass death occurred in the key food growing region.

“Further fish deaths in the Darling River are anticipated as a significant number of fish have been observed under stress.

Reason Behind the Death

  • The Darling River is part of the Murray-Darling River system that stretches thousands of kilometres across several states.

  • With temperatures expected to rise and no rain forecast, there remained a high risk of further fish kills over the coming days and week.

  • While the federal government has blamed the deaths on a severe drought, experts and locals say they stem from the systemic depletion and pollution of the river.

  • Critically low levels of dissolved oxygen caused by a sharp drop in temperatures after an extended period of hot weather.

Steps to Be Taken

  • Installing aerators in rivers only a “band-aid solution”. Only thing that will really change these conditions at the moment is fresh water coming through the system.

  • Australia’s eastern inland regions have been hit by a prolonged drought, with extreme heatwaves in recent weeks exacerbating conditions.

  • The late arrival of the monsoon season in northern Australia has also contributed to heatwaves in some regions.

  • The wet season eventually kicked off in mid-January, with record-breaking floods hitting the tropical top end of the vast continent, cutting communities off and stranding farmers in recent days.

Darling River

The Darling River is the third longest river in Australia, measuring 1,472 kilometres from its source in northern New South Wales to its confluence with the Murray River at Wentworth, New South Wales. Including its longest contiguous tributaries, it is 2,844 km long, making it the longest river system in Australia.

Image of Darling River

Image of Darling River

Image of Darling River

  • Length: 1,472 km

  • Country: Australia

  • Mouth: Murray River

  • Sources: Barwon River, Culgoa River

  • Cities: Menindee, Bourke, Wilcannia, Wentworth, Brewarrina, Pooncarie, Louth, Tilpa

- Published/Last Modified on: April 18, 2019

Environment/Ecology

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