Saturday, 16 February, 2019

MP throws up while holding dead fish

Farmers Rob Mc Bride and Dick Arnold have called for drastic action. Source Facebook Tolarno StationMore Farmers Rob Mc Bride and Dick Arnold have called for drastic action. Source Facebook Tolarno StationMore
Frank Williams | 12 January, 2019, 15:54

"I felt so sick that I panicked and jumped in the river to escape it - as bad as it is!" he explained.

Debate is raging about how to manage the Murray Darling River in order to prevent more fish deaths.

The discovery of up to a million dead fish has been blamed on mismanagement and corruption, but the NSW Government insists the drought is partly to blame.

In a statement, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's chief executive Phillip Glyde said, "The main causes of this distressing event are the lack of water flowing into the northern rivers, and the impact of 100 years of over-allocation of precious water resources throughout the entire basin".

The NSW Government is in talks with the Commonwealth about operating rules and water-sharing arrangements, he added.

Rob McBride, a grazier who lives south of Menindee on the Lower Darling, insists the deaths are the result of a "man-made engineered disaster".

The town of Menindee "stinks" and there are fears more fish will die as the water quality continues to worsen, local Kate McBride told AAP on Friday.

NSW opposition leader Michael Daley has called for a special commission of inquiry into the incident and vowed to establish one if Labor wins power at the March election.

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The Menindee Lakes, which are about four times the size of Sydney Harbour, were drained twice in four years and are sitting at between 2.6 per cent and 4 per cent capacity, he said.

"This mass fish kill be a wake-up call for Australia that we need to get out of a broken loop on water policy and that fundamentally adequate water must be prioritised for the environment before being allocated to large-scale irrigation", Mr Buckingham said as he left for Broken Hill after visiting the dead fish zones on Wednesday.

Among the fish varieties most impacted by the event are vitally important native species like bony bream, Murray cod and perch.

"You have to be bloody disgusted in yourselves", Mr Arnold said in the video posted on Tuesday.

Mr McBride said: "This is nothing to do with drought, this is a man-made disaster". In mid-December, more than 10,000 fish died in a stretch of the river a little farther upstream, the Guardian reported.

The immediate cause of the mass fish kill is believed to be a sudden drop in temperature that killed algal blooms in the water, depleting it of oxygen and causing fish to die.

"The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was established to improve the health of our rivers and floodplains and to avoid the types of ecological disaster we have witnessed with the Menindee fish deaths", Ms Slattery said.

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