Thousands of dead fish floating in the lake at Holloways Beach. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN
Thousands of dead fish floating in the lake at Holloways Beach. PICTURE: STEWART MCLEAN

Fish kills a result of bushfires

THERE are still a few vacancies for the DPI Fisheries Kids Fishing Workshop at Ballina on Monday.

Workshops cost $40, generally last around five hours and are capped at 30 participants aged from 8-14.

Over the day, kids will be are taken through rules and regulations, fishing safety and responsibly, conservation of fish habitat, knot tying, rigging and baiting, casting, landing of fish and fish handling.

At day's end, each child receives a rod, reel, tackle box, Hooksafe, shirt, sunglasses and goodie bag to take home, plus a certificate of achievement.

Age group is 8-14.

The workshops start at 9.30am and finish at 2pm.

For more info, call Melanie Buhler on 6691 9681 or 0458 274 876.

There will be another workshop at Evans Head on April 15.


Fishy deaths

FISH kills relating to drought and fires have been reported this week at Bellbrook on the Macleay and Paddys Flat on the Clarence.

The Bellbrook kill is believed to have resulted from a dissolved oxygen crash after heavy rain around Armidale at the top of the Macleay catchment brought a sudden influx of run-off contaminated by excessive sediment and fire debris.

With much of the Macleay ceasing to flow during the drought, thousands of mullet, bass and eel-tailed catfish had taken refuge in some of the deeper holes around Bellbrook.

The Nambucca Guardian News/Macleay Argus said Upper Macleay resident Arthur Bain discovered hundreds of dead fish near the Bellbrook bridge last Saturday.

Mr Bain said there were reports of hundreds of more dead fish further up and down the river.

Lawrie McEnally of the Macleay fish co-op told ABC Rural this week that there'd be plenty more fatalities as rainfall over the major fire grounds intensified.

And ABC Local radio yesterday reported on a kill in one of the remaining "refuge holes" on the Upper Clarence at Paddys Flat, upstream of Tabulam.

Bass, mullet, catfish and endangered eastern freshwater cod were reported to have died from a suspected oxygen crash after a change of water conditions in the fire-ravaged area.

So far, fish from Bungawalbyn Creek, the epicentre of the 120,000ha Myall Creek Road blaze, seem to have been spared the worst of conditions despite most of its lower to middle catchment being charred.

Much of that waterway is uniquely tidal freshwater, so it may well be that the regular water movement has helped dissipate any water quality issues - so far.

When the area receives serious rain we'll know more.

This area is also one of the major "blackwater" catchments on the Richmond estuary so there'll be plenty to watch out for in coming months.

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