Millions of dead fish clog Australian river near remote town | News

Authorities say “millions” of fish have died in the Darling River near the small town of Menindee in New South Wales.

Millions of dead and rotting fish have clogged a wide stretch of river near a remote town in outback Australia as a scorching heat wave sweeps through the region.

Videos posted to social media showed boats driving through a blanket of dead fish choking the water, with the surface barely visible below.

On Friday, the New South Wales government said “millions” of fish had died in the Darling River near the small town of Menindee, in the third massacre to hit the area in the recent past.

The incident follows fish kills in the same area in 2018 and 2019, where up to a million fish died due to poor water flow, poor water quality and sudden changes in temperature.

“It’s really awful, there are dead fish as far as the eye can see,” Menindee resident Graeme McCrabb told AFP news agency. “It’s surreal to understand,” he said, adding that this year’s fish kills appeared to be worse than previous ones.

“The environmental impact is unfathomable.”

According to the state government, populations of fish such as bony herring and carp had exploded in the river following recent flooding but were now dying off in large numbers as the flood waters receded.

“These fish deaths are linked to low levels of oxygen in the water (hypoxia) as floodwaters recede,” the state government said in a statement.

“The current hot weather in the region is also exacerbating hypoxia, as warmer water holds less oxygen than cold water, and fish have higher oxygen requirements at warmer temperatures.”

The drought blamed

Previous fish deaths in Menindee – about a 12-hour drive west of Sydney – have been blamed on a lack of water in the river due to prolonged drought and a toxic algae bloom that s extended over 40 km (24 miles).

“Unfortunately, this will not be the last,” the NSW government warned in 2019.

State government fisheries spokesman Cameron Lay said he was “confronted” to see the river choking with dead fish.

Menindee has a population of around 500 people and has been ravaged by drought and flooding in recent years.

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