Millions of dead fish washed up in Australia during heat wave

Millions of dead fish washed up in Australia during heat wave

Authorities and scientists say millions of fish have washed up dead in southeastern Australia due to flooding and hot weather.

The New South Wales state Department of Primary Industries said the fish die-off coincided with a heatwave that has put pressure on a system that has experienced extremes from widespread flooding.

The deaths may have been caused by low oxygen levels due to receding floods, a situation worsened by the fish’s need for more oxygen due to warmer weather, the department said.

Residents of the outback town of Menindi complained of a terrible smell from dead fish.

“We just started cleaning up, and then this happened, and it’s like you’re walking around in a dry mess and then you smell this smell. It’s a terrible smell and it’s horrible to see all these dead fish,” said local John Denning.

Nature photographer Geoff Looney found the mass of dead fish near Menindi’s main reservoir on Thursday evening.

“The smell was terrible. I almost had to wear a mask,” Looney said. “I was worried about my own health. That water upstream comes down to our pumping station for the town. The people north of Menindi say there are cod and perch floating everywhere down the river.”

There have been reports of massacres in the Darling-Baka River in recent weeks. Several thousand fish were found at the same location in late February, while there were many reports of dead fish near the border of South Australia and the state of Victoria at Punkari.

During severe drought conditions in late 2018 and early 2019, the river in Menindi suffered massive fish kills, with local estimates of deaths in the millions.

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