Australian river filled with millions of dead fish, residents complain of ‘putrid’ smell

Inhabitants of a small Australian city stop their noses from the stink of millions of dead fish that have washed ashore in recent weeks and littered a major river.

Residents in the sparsely populated town of Menindee in New South Wales are complaining about a terrible smell from dead fish. One resident, a local nature photographer, told The Associated Press he “almost had to put on a mask.”

Millions of dead fish have littered a river near a small Australian town.

Millions of dead fish have littered a river near a small Australian town. (Graham McCrabb)

“I was worried about my health. This water goes right upstairs to our pumping station for the city. People north of Menindee say cod and perch are floating all over the river,” he said.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries believes declining oxygen levels and receding floods are the likely cause of the massive fish kills. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that fish need more oxygen due to warmer weather.

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In recent weeks, mass fish mortality has also been reported in the Darling Baaka River, where tens of thousands of fish were found at the same location in late February. There have been several reports of dead fish downstream towards Punkari, close to the borders of the states of South Australia and Victoria.

Authorities have set up an emergency operations center to coordinate the massive cleanup and provide residents with clean water. Government agencies have also begun releasing better quality water where possible to boost dissolved oxygen levels in the area.

“We just started cleaning, and then this happened: you walk around in a dried-up mess, and then you smell this putrid smell,” said Menindee resident Jan Dening. “It’s a terrible smell and it’s terrible to see all this dead fish.”

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The development comes just weeks after an outbreak of toxic red algae hit Florida’s southwest coast, causing residents to complain of burning eyes and skin. thousands of dead fish washed by the shores.

Sarah Rumpf of Fox New and The Associated Press contributed to this report.