Government response to Yunderup fish kill leaves residents and anglers with questions

Government response to Yunderup fish kill leaves residents and anglers with questions

A GOVERNMENT response to a fish kill in the Murray River last week left Yunderup residents with more questions than answers.

More than 30,000 fish were discovered dead on the banks of the Murray on May 24.

A post by Janice Whittum regarding the fish kill has been shared more than 600 times.

She believes some assistance should have been given to residents in relation to a clean up of dead fish.

The Department of Water and Department of Fisheries attributed the kill to poor water quality after testing water, fish and phytoplankton samples.

The Department of Water’s water science branch principal scientist Dr Tim Storer said the kill was could be specifically attributed to low dissolved oxygen levels.

“Recent rains washed organic matter into the river and disturbed sediment that contains very little oxygen,” he said.

“These two factors resulted in dissolved oxygen falling below levels fish could tolerate.”

Recfishwest released a statement saying it is not unreasonable for the community to expect to be kept up to date about what is happening and whether it’s safe to eat the fish or play in the water – especially with a long weekend upon us.

“Many Govt Depts have Facebook and Twitter accounts which make the lack of communication harder to comprehend,” the statement read.

“The fishing community works hard to protect fish stocks and we’re disappointed to see large numbers of fish wiped out by a single fish kill event such as this.

“Maintaining a healthy catchment is essential to ensuring the sustainability of our estuaries and fish stocks and when a fish kill like this occurs, the very least the community deserve is open honest and timely information otherwise we risk these events being treated as normal and ‘expected’.”

The organisation wrote it would keep “pushing for answers”.

Other anglers have asked whether the river would be restocked following the death of bream, whiting, flounder, crabs and mulloway.

The Department of Water is monitoring the situation through fortnightly water quality sampling along the Murray River.

The Department of Health advises against eating or handling fish found in these circumstances, or recreating in waterways during a fish kill or algal bloom event.

The departments encourage people to continue reporting any fish deaths to the Department of Fisheries FishWatch on 1800 815 507.

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