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Low dissolved oxygen levels behind a mass fish kill in an Australian river

Low oxygen levels in Australia’s second-longest river were to blame for a recent mass fish die-off in remote New South Wales state, environment officials said. Thousands of dead fish were found this week in the Darling River near the town of Menindee, about 1,000 km (620 miles) west of the state capital Sydney.

It tracks fish kills in the same area in 2018 and 2019, where up to a million fish died due to poor water flow, poor water quality and sudden changes in temperature. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s water division said on Twitter that “dissolved oxygen levels remain a concern for fish health” in the area.

“There has been a large number of fish kills (predominantly Bony Herring) in the Darling River between Lake Wetherell and the township of Menindee,” the agency said on Friday. Hundreds of thousands of dead fish have been found in the river and state fisheries officials have been sent to the area to assess the problem, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on Saturday.

Footage posted by SBS on Twitter showed the boat floating among thousands of dead fish covering the entire surface of the river. The State Planning and Environment Agency has warned that river oxygen levels could fall further this weekend as temperatures rise before cooler conditions return next week.

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