Fri, 01 Dec 2023

MENINDEE, Australia: After recent floods and hot weather, millions of dead fish have washed up in southeastern Australia, which authorities and scientists said is caused by depleted oxygen levels in a river.

Residents of the Outback town of Menindee in the state of New South Wales have complained of the smell from the dead fish.

"The stink was terrible. I nearly had to put a mask on. I was worried about my own health..People north of Menindee say there are cod and perch floating down the river everywhere," local nature photographer Geoff Looney said, as quoted by the Associated Press.

The kill-off of fish was likely caused by low oxygen levels as floods recede, which was made worse by fish needing more oxygen because of the warmer weather, said the Department of Primary Industries.

The immediate priority was to provide a clean water supply to residents, said State Emergency Operations Controller Peter Thurtell.

"There is no need for community concern, as the initial assessment has determined multiple viable solutions to maintain the water supply to Menindee township and surrounds," he said.

State agencies are also releasing higher-quality water to support dissolved oxygen levels in the area.

In late 2018 and early 2019, the mass dying of fish was recorded on the river at Menindee during severe drought conditions, with local residents estimating millions of fish had died.

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