Fish kills predicted for northern rivers

IN the wake of recent flooding in northern NSW the numbers of dying fish in the Clarence and Richmond Rivers could increase in the next week.

The state’s Department of Primary Industries has received reports that hundreds to thousands of fish have been found dead.

But DPI’s senior fisheries conservation manager, Marcus Riches, told the ABC the numbers aren’t as significant as after previous floods.

“We expect water quality to continue to decline,” he said.

“We have less than one milligram per litre of dissolved oxygen from Wardell up to about Coraki in the Richmond River.

“That’s at critical levels, so we do expect things could worsen.

“Similarly in the Clarence, there’s still a lot of water on the floodplain. It was a much bigger flood in the Clarence than in the Richmond, and in the coming days we do expect that to start entering the main river.

“We’ll be sending teams out next week to ascertain how the main river is looking in terms of water quality, but to also do an assessment of the existing fish kills and see if they’re getting worse.”

Mr Riches says it’s difficult to determine what the extent and scale of the fish kill will be.

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