The situation near an Australian town is described as “horrific” as millions of decomposing fish have washed up on the riverbank.

In Menindee, a remote town in New South Wales, Australia, a vast number of dead and decomposing fish have blocked a lengthy section of the river. Several videos circulating on social media show boats cutting through the layers of dead fish, barely revealing the surface beneath.

As per the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, the likely cause of the mass fish deaths was low levels of oxygen resulting from the receding floodwaters. The situation was exacerbated by the warmer weather, as fish require additional oxygen during such conditions. The locals in Menindee have reported a foul odor emanating from the decaying fish.

According to the New South Wales government, this marks the third instance of a mass fish death in the region in recent times. It was further revealed that “millions” of fish had died in the Darling River near the town of Menindee.

Previous fish deaths had been documented in the region, occurring in both 2018 and 2019. The causes of these incidents were attributed to insufficient water flow, subpar water quality, and sudden fluctuations in temperature, resulting in the deaths of roughly one million fish.

Graeme McCrabb, a Menindee resident, told AFP news agency that the sight of dead fish stretching as far as the eye can see is truly horrific. He described the experience as surreal and difficult to comprehend. The environmental impact of the situation is beyond measure, according to him.

Having a population of 500, Menindee has suffered greatly from floods and droughts in recent years. The state authorities report that the fish population, including bony herring and carp, had flourished in the river following earlier floods, but now they were rapidly decreasing as the floodwaters receded.

According to the state government, the cause of the fish fatalities is linked to insufficient oxygen levels in the water (known as hypoxia), which occurs as the floodwaters retreat. The hot weather conditions in the area are worsening the hypoxia, as warmer water holds less oxygen than colder water, and fish require more oxygen in warmer temperatures.

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