New Australia mass fish deaths in key river system

SYDNEY (AFP) – Thousands more fish have died in a key river system in drought-hit eastern Australia just weeks after up to a million were killed, authorities and locals said on Monday, sparking fears an ecological disaster is unfolding.

Fisheries officials said they were on their way to Menindee, a small outback town in far-west New South Wales state, after the third mass fish kill in the area in less than two months.

The town is near the Darling River, part of the Murray-Darling River system that stretches thousands of kilometres across several states and supplies the country’s food bowl.

“There’s lot of small (dead) fish… a lot of the larger fish have already perished in the last two kills,” Menindee tourism operator Rob Gregory told AFP, adding that he counted 380 dead fish in just a six-metre stretch of river.

Gregory said Menindee was renowned as having one of the best fisheries in the far-west region.

Dead fish float in the Darling River near Menindee, Australia. – AP