Hundreds of thousands of fish dead in river due to bush fires, in NSW, Australia #fish #NewSouthWales #australia
Hundreds of thousands of native fish are estimated to have died in northern New South Wales after rains washed ash and sludge from bushfires into the Macleay River.
Parts of the Macleay River – favoured by recreational fishers – have been turned into what locals described as “runny cake mix” that stank of rotting vegetation and dead fish.
One freshwater ecologist told Guardian Australia the impact of the fish kill might be felt for decades to come, with long-lived species like Australian bass hit hard.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries has been receiving reports of “hundreds of thousands” of fish dead in the river since December 2019.
Locals say rain in the past 10 days has seen more ash and mud from the parched and burned landscape running into the river.
The disaster on the Macleay River is one of eight fish kills reported to the department this year, with the cause of most linked to lack of rainfall.
Larry Newberry, a recreational fisher from Frederickton, near Kempsey, said he drove 100km to George’s Creek to survey the river last weekend.
“I would say from what I’ve seen I would not be surprised that it’s wiped out every fish in at least 100 kilometres of the river,” he said.
“The stench was overwhelming – it stank that much it made you heave. It’s the dead fish, the rotting vegetation and the ash from the fires and maybe the fire retardant. It is just like brown sludge.
“I’ve been fishing the river for 50 years and I have seen fish kills before, but nothing of this magnitude. This will be happening in every east coast river that’s been hit by bushfires.”
Courtesy of theguardian.com