Monday 7 January 2019

Second in Less Than a Month: Mass Fish Death.

A second mass death of Darling River fish -- just reported by ABC News Online -- comes less than a month after the events of December 20th -- mentioned here -- and it appears to be of larger proportions. ABC News reports up to a million dead fish, versus ten thousand in December.


The ABC News’ Rhys Carman and Sara Tomevska: NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Fisheries Manager Iain Ellis said the event was unprecedented.
“I’ve never seen two fish kills of this scale so close together in terms of time, especially in the same stretch of river,” he said.
“In both cases it's when the algal bloom has been disrupted. The first time due to a storm, and in this case, by the cold front that went through.”
Yesterday’s DPI media release.

Additional coverage.

'Nature bites back': Algal blooms trigger mass fish deaths in western NSW
By Peter Hannam, 7 January 2019 — 7:29pm

Rob McBride, whose Tolarno grazing station lies to the south of the main fish kill region, said 250,000 livestock and millions of native animals are at risk from the increasingly toxic water in the river.

Hundreds of thousands of native fish dead in second Murray-Darling incident

An estimated 10,000 were killed just weeks ago, and locals fear native stocks could be all but wiped out this time
By Anne Davies. 7 January 2019 — 18:34

Local graziers and the towns of Wilcannia and Pooncarie are up in arms about the state of the river, accusing the NSW government of sacrificing their 500km stretch of the Darling in order to benefit upstream cotton growers.
They say the current crisis is due to Water NSW’s decision to run the lakes dry despite forecasts of drought.
09-01-2019. Two locals from Menindee, near Broken Hill -- scene of the disaster -- express their anger:

Mass fish deaths at Menindee sparks viral video from emotional farmers
By Paige Cockburn and Kevin Nguyen — Updated about 3 hours ago.

This is a potentially explosive situation. The ABC News updated note mentions -- without further details -- that “NSW Minister for Primary Industries Niall Blair has received death threats over the disaster”. Locals believe Commonwealth and/or State governments are protecting cotton growers in northern New South Wales. Last year an ABC Four Corners investigation revealed that cotton growers were pumping water out of the Darling in excess of their allocations. There were allegations of corruption between bureaucrats.

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