Cotton Australia statement on fish deaths at Menindee

Federico Mansilla
Enero 12, 2019

Mr McBride features in a viral Facebook video where he's standing in the Darling River alongside Dick Arnold holding dead fish.

"The overwhelming stench from millions of dead fish floating in the Darling River at Menindee is grotesque".

"What this issue highlights is how hard the management of the Menindee Lakes is".

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority has described the deaths as a bad reminder of the impact drought has on the environment.

Days on from Sunday's discovery of the huge fish kill, fisheries staff have mostly left and the bulk of the corpses of bony herring, perches and Murray Cod are disintegrating or sinking from view.

The immediate cause of Menindee's calamity was a change in temperatures that killed much of the blue-green algal bloom on that part of the river.

The die-off, the fourth in the Murray-Darling Basin in recent months, has drawn widespread attention to the plight of the country's river system.

"This drought is a devastating time for all of us".

"You can not dismiss the fact there is a drought and a lack of water".

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Her water minister - who has been savaged by some Menindee locals for partly blaming the drought - said fish kills are not a new phenomenon and happened in the region between 2002 and 2004 during the millennium drought. "But the river droughts are happening more often and they're more intense as a result of the irrigation industry in the Darling diverting water from the river over the last 10 to 20 years". The dying algae worsened already low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, pushing many fish beyond their tolerance levels.

"They don't understand what it would mean [to cancel it]", Blair says, of the NSW Labor stance.

Prof Williams admits it's hard to manage but warns there'll be more fish deaths if there isn't a 30 to 40 per cent reduction in the amount of water extracted.

"The scale of this disaster is extraordinary and unprecedented".

Independent MP Jeremy Buckingham posted the footage of the incident to Twitter earlier today.

In a statement, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority's chief executive Phillip Glyde said, "The main causes of this distressing event are the lack of water flowing into the northern rivers, and the impact of 100 years of over-allocation of precious water resources throughout the entire basin".

Michael Murray, general manager of Cotton Australia, sought to counter criticism of irrigators and his industry for the plight at Menindee, say the state's cotton output would halve this year.

Federal and state officials rejected the claims of mismanagement and said drought was to blame for the disaster, the Morning Herald writes.

"Cotton Australia is very proud of our industry that produces a quality fibre that is in demand both here at home and around the world; but as an industry we are growing very exhausted of being "the whipping boy" for all the problems that are being brought on by this crippling drought".

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