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What killed the fish at Menindee?

Besides the dead fish at Menindee there have been fish deaths due to black water events up and down the Darling River since January and in other western streams such as the Paroo River. Photo TWH

The mass death of fish in the Darling River has triggered frustration and paranoia amongst people living at Menindee.

Emotions ran high at two town hall meetings in Menindee last week, where government officials tried to placate an angry community.

In recent weeks the Darling at Menindee has filled with dead fish, dying from what scientists say is severely low oxygen levels in the water.

The fish kill at Menindee has left huge numbers of carcasses rotting for kilometres along the river. According to scientists, the fish deaths have been caused by subsiding floodwaters cramming large numbers of fish and algae into a smaller area, robbing the water of dissolved oxygen.

Panicked politicians have called for an inquiry despite overwhelming evidence that the fish kill is a natural event caused by toxic blackwater following a flood.

Greens MLC Cate Faehrmann accused the state government saying ‘this fish kill is just the latest in an extended ecological catastrophe caused by decades of mismanagement, incompetence and special treatment of irrigators interests by successive NSW governments and their agencies.

The irrigation community has hit back saying that the Darling River including Menindee has been inundated by unprecedented flooding for at least 18 months, when more than 20 Sydney Harbours has flowed into the Menindee Lakes past upstream irrigation communities.

Barwon-Darling Water spokesman, Ian Cole said that if volumes of water made a healthy river, then the Darling at Menindee should be pristine this year.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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