Millions of dead fish have clogged Australia’s Darling River this week.
Public broadcaster ABC reported on Saturday that state fisheries officials had been sent to assess the matter.
Environmental authorities in the state of New South Wales blame the mass killing on low oxygen levels in Australia’s second largest river.
“We see tens of miles where there are fish, really as far as the eye can see, so it’s quite a confronting scene,” New South Wales fisheries spokesman Cameron Lay told the ABC.
Footage posted to Twitter by public broadcaster SBS showed a boat navigating through thousands of dead fish that covered the river’s surface.
What caused the mass extinction?
The government of Australia’s most populous state said “millions” of fish had died near the small town of Menindee.
The city is located about 1,000 kilometers (about 620 miles) west of the state capital of Sydney.
This is the region’s third mass extinction since 2018.
Recent flooding had led to an explosion of bony herring and carp populations in the Darling River, and fish were now dying in the aftermath.
“These fish kills are linked to low oxygen levels in the water (hypoxia) as the floodwaters recede,” the New South Wales government said.
“There is a high number of fish kills (mainly leg herring) in the Darling River between Lake Wetherell and Menindee township,” the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s water department said Friday.
The agency warned that oxygen levels in the river could drop over the weekend as temperatures rise. The lower temperatures will return next week.
Earlier fish kills at Menindee were attributed to a prolonged drought and then a toxic algal bloom.
sdi/msh (Reuters, AFP)