Tens of thousands of fish suddenly die in a river near Mandurah, Australia
THE sudden deaths of tens of thousands of fish have sparked environmental and health fears around the Murray River near Mandurah.
The Department of Water started running tests last week after reports of fish washing up between the Pinjarra Road bridge and the river mouth.
Bream, mulloway and whiting were some of the prized species identified among the dead in North and South Yunderup.
The Department released a statement on Wednesday last week advising the public against eating or handling fish from the lower reaches of the river.
The next statement came a week later, when DOW scientist Dr Tim Storer said the kill was likely caused by low dissolved oxygen levels.
Recfishwest chief executive Andrew Rowland said residents and fishers were frustrated about the gap in communication between statements.
While he had no issue with the explanation for the fish kill, Mr Rowland said the government’s response could have been better.
He voiced similar concerns in late 2015 during a Fisheries-led response to a fish kill in Cockburn Sound.
However a DOW spokeswoman said it was important to have the right information before going public.
“We understand that people are passionate about the local environment and keen to know as much as possible, as quickly as possible,” she said.
The Shire of Murray has been running the clean-up operation this week.
North Yunderup woman Kylie Dols said there was still a foul smell and a slick on the water.
The keen fisher and paddler said she had tears in her eyes on Sunday when she saw the riverbanks covered in dead fish.
“One thing that worries me is the chance of the bird life eating them. We have an amazing array of water birds here,” Mrs Dols said.
Courtesy of perthnow.com.au