High Risk of More Fish Deaths near Menindee

4 Mar 2019

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is preparing for weather fluctuations this week in the Menindee region, similar to those which prompted large scale fish deaths in December and January.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting the current hot conditions in far Western NSW to continue through Tuesday followed by the potential for a significant cool change to arrive on Wednesday.

DPI Fisheries is on high alert and is continuing to monitor conditions.

Management options have been discussed with local stakeholders, including Central Darling Shire Council and community members.

Recent fish deaths within the Lower Darling have been attributed to extended hot and dry conditions followed by rapid cooling events associated with cold fronts.

This contributed to mixing of poor quality deep water with better quality surface water which ultimately reduced the availability of oxygen in the water for fish to breathe.

In addition to installing several aerators near Menindee, DPI has also provided assistance to local communities in deploying additional aerators in priority refuge pools in the region which have provided some relief for native fish.

However, these aerators are unlikely to be able to prevent further fish wide-spread deaths given the broad impact local climatic conditions can have on water quality.

Without significant rainfall to generate replenishment flows, the current low flows and warm temperatures are likely to pose an ongoing threat to native fish while the hot weather continues.

Community members are encouraged to report fish deaths to the Fishers Watch hotline on 1800 043 536.

Media contact: Lyndall HIlder 02 6391 3686