Tuesday 21st of March 2023

fish kills...

fish kills

Voluminous emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, rapid global warming, and a decline in biodiversity—the storyline is modern, but the setting is ancient: The end of the Permian Period, some 252 million years ago. For the end-Permian, the result was catastrophic: the greatest loss of plant and animal life in Earth history (1). Understanding the details of how this mass extinction played out is thus crucial to its use as an analog for our future. On page 1130 of this issue, Penn et al. (2) add an intriguing clue: The extinction was most severe at high latitudes. Using a state-of-the-art climate model that was interpreted in terms of physiological stress, the authors further identify the killer as hypoxia, which was brought on by warm temperatures and ocean deoxygenation.


Though the present fish kills in New South Wales are "different" to this massive extinction event, the process is similar. Lack of oxygen in the water and rising temperature. In New South Wales this process in the rivers in created by humans on three major fronts:

a) inducing global warming by burning fossil fuels — leading to lowering of oxygen in the waters.(note: the temperature for THE WHOLE month of January in Australia might have been more than 4 degrees Celsius above average. In the aras of the fish kills, this temperature might have been up to 6 degrees Celsius above average for the WHOLE month. This also increases the change of drought.

b) pumping water for crops, leaving little flowing waters in the rivers

c) fertilizing the land which creates run-offs into the rivers, leading to toxic algal blooms. 

The fish have no chance of surviving. We're nuts and the culprits pass the buck between governments and farmers. This problem was known since the 1940s, though the origins were still a bit nebulous. I was involved in exposing this problem and the origins in the early 1980s. nearly 40 yers later, NOTHING HAS BEEN DONE ABOUT IT. 


when the government tells bullshit...

Thousands more fish have died along the Darling River in far western NSW, with a drop in temperatures and some rains the likely cause, the state government says. 

Local Graeme McCrabb on Monday morning posted photos Monday on social media of floating dead fish in the weir pool at Menindee.

“It’s starting again,” he wrote on Facebook.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has sent officers to investigate the event, which it believes has affected “large numbers of bony bream and smaller numbers of other species”.

“It is likely linked to some rain and cooler temperatures in the Menindee area following an extended period of very hot weather,” a spokeswoman said in a statement to AAP.

Menindee resident Rob Gregory said there were at least 200-to-300 dead bony bream, as well as some native species.


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caring and carelessness...

“Of course I care about the fish, but can I be honest, I care more about people.” - Gladys Berejiklian's attitude to the recent fish kills.


“People should be very very angry, because this has nothing to do with nature.” - Grazier Rob McBride about the fish kills.


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Gladys Berejiklian's honesty is breathtaking — and possibly careless about fish kills... 

if the little fishes could evolve two thumbs...


Hard to believe Premier’s election promise on space



The Premier’s concern for public spaces is too little, too late (‘‘New minister for public spaces to protect NSW state land’’, February 4). She has already handed large swaths of Australia’s most historic parks, the Sydney Domain and Parramatta Park, to vested interests, against huge public opposition. - Kevin Eadie, Drummoyne


Is there any left? - Michael Hinchey, New Lambton

A welcome initiative that’s overdue. Regional city centres, such as Penrith that historically haven’t nurtured a network of open public space, could benefit from this. Within the last decade Sydneysiders have witnessed the rapid growth in density within our town centres often minus a commensurate quantity of open space.
It’s a pity that the new portfolio didn’t extend to include local government land selloffs. Too often under-utilised public land is sold off to bolster council coffers without a proper independent investigation of its potential as open space. -
 Cleveland Rose, Dee Why




In her own electorate of Willoughby, Berejiklian’s government is proposing to bulldoze six hectares of bushland to use as a dive site for the dubious Beaches Link Tunnel. A tunnel costing taxpayers $14 billion and then to be flogged off to a private toll road operator. The local community has spent the past 25 years rehabilitating this bushland, a Wildlife Protection Area and home to a myriad of important native flora and fauna. - John Berry, Cammeray


It’s difficult to put much store in these promises given it is on the eve of an election and that for the past eight years, despite a stream of deputations, letters, master plans and submissions, the parklands and heritage buildings at Callan Park have been allowed to fall into neglect and ruin. With a budget surplus running into billions there was no excuse for this neglect. - Hall Greenland, Leichhardt  (President, Friends of Callan Park)


One of the first things the new minister could do would be to step in and stop Glebe Island from being turned into an industrial wasteland and work with the community to turn this space into much needed open space for all of the surrounding area.

Open space which will be urgently required if the plans to redevelop the Fish Market goes ahead and even more apartments are added to the Pyrmont peninsula. - Sue Armstrong, Pyrmont

People can move and be fine but rivers cannot

Steve Whan says towns on the Murray-Darling should get more water (‘‘Murray-Darling plan has no friends – and that’s a good thing’’, February 4). Given he’s CEO of the National Irrigators’ Council we can be pretty sure he doesn’t want that water coming out of farmers’ allocations. So where would it come from? I think we can guess – Menindee Lakes, other wetlands, and of course South Australia and the poor old Coorong.

The needs of the system and its wetlands are not subject to negotiation You can’t talk a river system into needing less water to be healthy. If there is not enough water for those towns, they cannot be there any more. The fact a town was established in a marginal place 100 years ago does not mean it has an entitlement to still be there in the modern era of climate change. People can move elsewhere and be fine; the rivers cannot. - Andrew Taubman, Queens Park


Many insightful commentaries on the SA royal commission into the woes of Murray-Darling Basin, correctly point to maladministration and disregard for post-2009 climate change modelling of the impacts of climate change by the MDB Authority. However, the authority is only partly to blame. The main culprits are agribusinesses which disproportionally influence state and federal water ministers. Their political interference on MDB Authority policy is demonstrated by recent Menindee Lakes outflows, a publicly funded pipeline from the Murray River to Broken Hill and a 70 gigalitre reduction to environmental flow in the northern basin – all aimed at providing more water to big operators in the north. Follow the money as they say! - John Benson, Callala Bay


If the Romans could build aquaducts 2000 years ago to transport water over 100km surely Australia can develop a national water plan to transport water from NE Queensland to the Murray Darling Basin? What is the Minister for Agriculture and Water doing? The longest oil pipeline is nearly 4000km long. Townsville to Melbourne is only 2500km. We need to get on with building infrastructure that can sustain and grow Australia, the lack of a federal plan for water harvesting, recycling and reusing rainwater is a national disgrace. - Stephen Bowhill, Manly

Can people please stop suggesting that floodwater from North Queensland be trucked down and dumped in the Darling (Letters, February 4)? Townsville to Bourke is over 1000 miles by the shortest route. - John Christie, Oatley

election smells,,,



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If the little fishes could evolve two thumbs... Actually it's four — two on each fin. Koalas have two thumbs on each forepaw so they can grip trees and branches better.

the death of freshwater species...

This article concerns the threat on freshwater ecosystems, which harbor a disproportionate amount of the world's biodiversity. In many parts of the world, freshwater ecosystems are already degraded from a range of human activities, including water extraction, pollution and physical alteration. The data that showed a biodiversity crisis in ecosystems included species loss and breakdown of the ecological processes and resources. Furthermore, several case studies were cited to illustrate the status of freshwater diversity. Numerous reasons for freshwater biodiversity loss were mentioned, which included pollution from pesticides and agricultural and mine run-off, and physical alteration through channelization and impoundments that affected the hydrology and benthic habitat. Despite the successful establishment of institutions to conserve water birds and wetland habitats, there was a lower priority for conservation of freshwater biodiversity in terms of species and habitats. This bias has had important and serious implications for allocation of resources to increase the knowledge and understanding of freshwater ecosystems, as well as for the adequacy of impact assessments for development projects affecting them.


This article published in 1999... (20 years ago).


According to the Living Planet Index. the popultion freshwater species has declined by an average of 83 per cent since 1970. 


Are we nuts? This is not a "natural event". This is due entirely to human activity in which we are all complicit — including the new kids and their smartphones... Wake up, you morons. And me included...

carelessness of the NSW CONservative government...

Residents at Lake Meringo near Moruya on the New South Wales Far South Coast this week have been shocked to find thousands of dead fish and other marine life along the lagoon's shoreline.

It is the second major fish kill event in the region in the past five weeks.

The discovery follows a number of fish kill events around the country in recent months, where millions of fish have died.

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) said it had investigated the matter at Lake Meringo, and the main species affected included black bream, gudgeons, mullet, eels and luderick.

The DPI said the suspected cause related to the very low water levels at Lake Meringo and resulting poor water quality.

"At these low levels, coastal lakes are very susceptible to high water temperatures, algal growth, and low dissolved oxygen," a DPI spokeswoman said.


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pork barreling with water...

Pressure is mounting on a government agency to provide more answers over an $80 million taxpayer-funded water deal, with Labor demanding documents explaining the purchase be made public.

Key points: 
  • The company at the centre of the buybacks was once associated with Energy Minister Angus Taylor
  • In 2017, water licences were bought from two Queensland properties owned by that company, for $80m
  • The Agriculture Department has stood by the deal but Labor wants related documents made public


In 2017, when Barnaby Joyce was the water minister, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources bought 28 gigalitres of water from Eastern Australia Agriculture, a company once linked to now-Energy Minister Angus Taylor.

The deal was part of a series of controversial agreements which saw the Federal Government spend $200 million buying environmental water under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. The buybacks occurred without an open tender process.

Opposition water spokesman Tony Burke has today written to the department asking it to publish, in full, documents relating to the due diligence and value of the deal.

Mr Burke is also seeking documents showing the department received advice from the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, State Government and Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder on the deal.

The letter follows a statement released by the department at the weekend defending the $80 million water buyback.

EAA is controlled by Eastern Australia Irrigation, which is based in the Cayman Islands.

Mr Taylor, a co-founder and director of Eastern Australia Irrigation, ended his association with the companies before entering Parliament in 2013.

Both he and Mr Joyce deny any involvement, but Mr Burke said the deal raised several questions.

"On the face of it, it looks like, for floodwater that only exists in very rare circumstances, that effectively, have paid very top dollar for it," Mr Burke said.


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talking under hot water is important to him...



Barnaby Joyce has told a pub in a Victorian irrigation district that the Four Corners program which raised allegations of water theft was about taking more water from irrigators and shutting down towns.

The deputy prime minister, agriculture and water minister told a gathering at a Hotel Australia in Shepparton that he had given water back to agriculture through the Murray Darling Basin plan so the “greenies were not running the show”. 

“We have taken water, put it back into agriculture, so we could look after you and make sure we don’t have the greenies running the show basically sending you out the back door, and that was a hard ask,” he said in comments reported by the ABC.


Then his ministerial department bought back the same water the government had given away free to irrigators, for $80 millions when irrigators in the Caiman Islands discovered they did not want it ... Crooked? Sure. Barnaby can't tell the truth from his own bullshit... 



bad water...

Thousands of fish have died on the New South Wales north coast after a council bowed to public pressure and opened a lagoon, sending a deadly wave of de-oxygenated water surging down a nearby creek

Key points:
  • Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the banks of Tallow Creek, south of Byron Bay
  • The incident occurred after Byron Shire Council removed a sand bank to open a lagoon 
  • Council said they were pressured by the community to open up the creek as it was causing flooding in the yards of neighbouring residents


A sand bank was removed from Tallow Creek, just south of Byron Bay, following complaints from nearby residents about flooding in their yards.

Local conservationist Dailan Pugh said as the water rushed out to sea, oxygen levels in the creek plummeted.

"Because there was no rain occurring in the catchment at the time, it was inevitable that what they were doing would result in a significant fish kill," he said.

"There were thousands of bream and flathead and whiting and mullet and eels dead on the banks and more in the water.


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in australia we don't bother about headstones for them...

This cartoon from the China Daily:


fish cemetery


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gone fishin' in murky waters...

It is not the most romantic way of fishing. But in Menindee, things are a little different these days.

Key points: 
  • A fish rescue operation is taking place over the next two weeks in Menindee 
  • The fish will be relocated to the Lower Darling, which has a more secure habitat
  • There are warnings that with a forecast of record dry conditions, the state could be facing a fish "Armageddon"


This week, at the site that triggered an environmental crisis in regional NSW, three blokes in a dinghy with nets were trying to catch some fish.

But instead of eating the fish or throwing them back, they were moving the fish to another spot.

For the next two weeks, the NSW Government is attempting what it has described as a "Noah's Ark" fish rescue operation to avoid "fish Armageddon" — or, in other words, to avoid what the world saw in January from happening again.

At this spot — which is a murky and muddy green from a lack of inflows and at the lower stretches of the Darling River — workers have so far removed 200 fish over the past few days.


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tomato soup...

A renowned angler says a mass fish kill in the parched Macquarie River in New South Wales this week left the waterway looking like "tomato soup."

Key points:
  • Thousands of fish died in the Macquarie River at Dubbo this week after rain caused a sudden shift in the water's oxygen level
  • Ecologists say more fish kills are likely with each new rainfall event, and that some species are at risk of dying out locally
  • Dissolved oxygen levels in the river remain at critically low levels, and the NSW DPI is working on fish "insurance populations"


Tens of thousands of fish of all sizes and species are estimated to have perished near Dubbo, in the state's west, after much-needed rain washed sediment into the river, causing dissolved oxygen levels to drop rapidly.

Fisher Matt Hansen said he was staggered by the result.

"It looks like someone's tipped out a ute-load of mulch on the edge of the bank," he said.

"It's actually dead shrimp.

"I've never seen the water like this — it's alarming to see.

"The river looks like tomato soup."

While rain is the only thing that will break the drought, ecologists are warning fish deaths could occur in the Macquarie River with each new rain event, and could render multiple species locally extinct.


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a russian fish kill...


Russia: Toxic algae blamed for death of marine life

Hundreds of octopuses, seals and sea urchins washed up dead earlier this month in what was first thought to be an oil spill. Russian authorities now say a natural occurrence was responsible for the ecological disaster

The mass death of sea creatures off the coast of Russia's far-eastern Kamchatka region was caused by a bloom of toxic algae, the country's top environmental official said Friday.

The response followed warnings of an ecological disaster after surfers who got into waters off the Kamchatka peninsula fell ill and marine life — including octopuses, seals and sea urchins — washed up dead on the shore earlier this month.

"It was the toxicity of the algae," Environment Minister Dmitry Kobylkin said in comments carried by Russian state news agency TASS, adding that it was not a man-made disaster.

Kobylkin said that it was unclear why it had caused so much damage to the waters around the volcanic peninsula and that authorities were trying to determine what prompted the extraordinary bloom as well as a reduction in oxygen levels in the water.

AFP news agency reported that scientists had estimated that up to 95% of marine life living along the seabed in the affected area had died.

Huge algae 'slick'

Last week, scientists said the pollution had formed a 40-kilometer-long (25-mile) slick which has been moving south towards Japan and the disputed Kuril Islands.

Environmental activists who traveled to the site said they had found yellowish foam on the ocean's surface in several places. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) conservation group said the pollution appeared to be caused by a highly soluble substance.

Russia's top investigative agency, which opened a criminal case over the incident, said its initial findings have not revealed any higher-than-usual levels of human-sourced pollution such as that seen after a fuel spill.

Corroborating the environment minister's assessment, the Investigative Committee said in a statement Friday that the mass death appeared to have been caused by toxic phytoplankton.

The statement added that elevated water levels of phenols — an oil product —  were not critical and had been found in the Avacha Bay on Kamchatka's southern coast since 1970.

The incident first came to light earlier this month when the environmental protection group Greenpeace reported that surfers in the area had fallen ill after coming into contact with the water.

"In mid-September, the seawater changed its color and took on an unpleasant smell," said the statement, issued on October 16. "People reported health effects. Dead sea animals washed ashore, leaving carcasses along many of the beaches."


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fish commit suicide again......

Millions of dead fish continue to flow down the Darling River in Menindee in NSW's far west as locals clean up the worst mass kill ever to hit the region. 

Key points:
  • Menindee has been the site of several mass fish kill events in recent years
  • The dead fish consist of mostly bony bream
  • The Central Darling Shire Council said it was monitoring the water quality

A constant stream of mostly bony bream has been floating down the river this morning, as well as golden perch and silver perch, and some Murray cod. 

Authorities have confirmed the overall scale and size of this mass fish kill eclipses similar events in 2018 and 2019.

The horrific incident has been caused by low oxygen levels in the water combined with high temperatures, expected to peak above 40 degrees Celsius in the area over the weekend.