Stay alert for fish deaths this summer

17 Nov 2022

With record-breaking rain continuing to be seen across the state, NSW DPI Fisheries is reminding communities to stay vigilant for impacts on native fish in the coming weeks.

NSW DPI Fisheries Deputy Director General Sean Sloan said our native fish have been put through the wringer over the past few years, with drought, bushfires and floods.

“We want people in our river communities to be alert for fish deaths in the coming days and weeks due to significant rainfall across most of the state. This has resulted in extensive inundation of floodplain areas, with associated impacts on water quality causing risks for fish” Mr Sloan said.

“These flood events can wash a lot of organic matter into the river, such as grasses, leaves and fallen vegetation. The rapid breakdown of this material can strip oxygen from the water.

“If dissolved oxygen drops to very low levels, this can cause ‘hypoxic blackwater’, which can be stressful for native fish, especially over long periods, and can lead to fish deaths.

“Water temperatures in the rivers are also increasing due to the hot weather, speeding up the whole process and increasing the likelihood of low oxygen levels”

Mr Sloan said the areas that DPI Fisheries were concerned about for potential fish deaths included the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Lachlan and Darling-Baaka valleys.

“While these areas are of particular concern to DPI Fisheries, we’re asking everyone to be on the lookout for fish deaths, given the widespread rainfall and flood activity across the State in recent months,” Mr Sloan said.

“DPI Fisheries will continue to work with partner agencies, who are responsible for managing and monitoring water quality and conditions.

Community members are encouraged to report any fish deaths or observations through the Fishers Watch Phone line on 1800 043 536.

For more information on fish deaths, visit the NSW DPI website.

Media contact: 02 6391 3686