Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Science | By

NSW fish deaths may extend Murray inquiry

NSW fish deaths may extend Murray inquiry

The cotton industry says it is not to blame for the mass deaths of hundreds of thousands of fish in the Darling River and is exhausted of being a "whipping boy" for problems associated with the drought.

But he is suddenly overcome by nausea and apologises before he starts retching and walks off to vomit off-camera.

Up to a million fish died in the Darling River this week, with many carcasses sinking to the bottom of the river while others rot along the riverbanks.

Mr Blair dismissed Mr Daley's demand saying that he had used his first comments about the drought to "rewrite history by ignoring the fact that similar environmental catastrophes happened under their watch when last in government".

"What this issue highlights is how hard the management of the Menindee Lakes is".

The federal government's Drought Envoy Barnaby Joyce is rubbishing claims corruption within the Murray Darling Basin Authority is to blame.

"It's devastating to see the hundreds of thousands of fish killed earlier this week and we believe this is one of the largest fish kills ever seen", Mr Blair later said in a statement.

Mr McBride features in a viral Facebook video where he's standing in the Darling River alongside Dick Arnold holding dead fish.

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

Arnold says members of the government "have to be bloody disgusted with yourself, politicians and cotton grower manipulators".

"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. This is not because of the drought, she says, it is "man made" and could have been avoided had several years of water in Menindee Lakes not been squandered.

His daughter, Kate McBride, who is also a farmer, added: "They have survived that many droughts, and the highs and lows of it all, but the one thing they haven't been able to survive is this mismanagement".

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has described the deaths as a bad reminder of the impact drought has on the environment.

The DPI said ongoing dry conditions and a recent big temperature drop could have caused the deaths.

Commissioner Bret Walker is expected to deliver a report by February 1 but could request extra time to consider the impact of flows to SA from Menindee in the Lower Darling - where fish have died en masse.

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