Tens of thousands of fish have been reported dead in western flowing rivers at numerous locations within NSW, with shocking images from the Menindee making national media.
It's an absolute disaster... You're losing a century or more of breeding stock."Darryn Clifton
The Department of Primary Industries has reportedly sent staff to examine the Menindee Weir Pool region, south-east of Broken Hill, where dead Bony Bream, rotting Murray Cod and other species line the river banks in their thousands.
The ABC has reported that the NSW government is investigating the cause and extent of shocking algal bloom events in the state's far west that may have killed a million or more fish.
Rob McBride, whose Tolarno grazing station lies to the south of the main fish kill region, told the ABC that 250,000 livestock and millions of native animals are at risk from the increasingly toxic water in the river.
The stench "is just deplorable - it's something to make you retch", Mr McBride said, adding a neighbour's sheep had died during the first outbreak of blue-green algae around Christmas."
It's killing our businesses, our community and our fish."
Darryn Clifton, a spokesman for the Broken Hill-Darling River Action Group, also told the ABC that the deaths may extend as far as 30-40 kilometres of river.
Murray cod, as long as 1.4 metres in length and perhaps 100 years old, are dying.
"It's an absolute disaster," he said. "You're losing a century or more of breeding stock." The region is a key breeding area for endangered fish species, such as the golden perch.
A spokeswoman for the Murray Darling Basin Authority said "a great many of the water issues in the northern basin can be traced to the ongoing, intense drought".
While storages in the northern basin were about 20 per cent full, in the lower Darling, levels were low as 5 per cent full "so there isn’t the quantity of water available to environmental water holders to make a difference to current conditions," the ABC reported.
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