SYDNEY – Australian authorities warned on Tuesday of new cases of fish deaths after nearly 1 million died in the main river system in the southeastern part of the country affected by drought and intense heat.
The Department of Primary Industries of the state of New South Wales said in a statement that “with drought conditions expected to continue over the coming months it is likely more fish kills will occur without significant rainfall to generate replenishment flows.”
The warning comes after a fish kill was recorded over the last month in the Darling and Murray River basin, which extends over more than 1 million square kilometers in a valuable agricultural area, coinciding with a heat wave with temperatures of more than 40 degrees.
Authorities are investigating the exact causes behind the fish kill, which in the case of Lake Menindee in western NSW was attributed to the impact of a toxic algae that absorbs oxygen.
The drought that has been affecting eastern Australia for months, considered one of the worst in recent decades, is the major reason for the fish kill, according to the authorities, although several sectors of the affected areas reported poor management of water resources.
“You won’t restore health to the Darling River unless you address the underlying causes of the fish deaths and its decline – too much water extraction, corruption and mismanagement,” an independent member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, Jeremy Buckingham, said in a statement.