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Nobody wants to see sights and smells on the Australian river, police say

According to police, removing millions of dead fish from rivers in Australia’s outback would be a logistical nightmare.

The fish began dying in Darling River, near Menindee, New South Wales. Temperatures were at 40C on Friday.

Experts believe the die-off occurred because the fish, mostly bony bream, cod, and perch, require more oxygen in hot weather. However, oxygen levels in the water have dropped since the recent floods receded.

Brett Greentree, Police Assistant Commissioner, stated that keeping the water supply clean was the top priority. Taking out dead fish was the second most urgent issue.

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Image: Deaths have been caused by the combination of high temperatures and low oxygen levels. Pic: ABC/AP

Although trained contractors were contacted to remove the fish nets, no dates have been established.

Residents expressed anger at the delay in cleaning up and were concerned about the contamination of their water supply.

Mr Greentree stated that he was not promising that contractors will remove all the fish millions because that would be a logistical nightmare.

He said, “I can smell the river and see the sights – no one wants to see that.”

Residents who depend on rivers for their water supply were being supplied with drinking water by the authorities, Mr Greentree explained.

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During severe drought conditions in late 2018/early 2019, massive fish kills were also reported on the Menindee River.

Joy Becker, an expert in aquatic animal health from the University of Sydney, stated that it would take time for the river’s ecosystems to recover.

She said, “It does not mean that these populations [of fish] might not rebound as quickly and at the same magnitude.”

“Pest species can take over the spot and make it difficult for native fish to recover.”

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