Results of a Hundreds of thousands of fish have been killed in the Murray/Darling system.
Results of a Hundreds of thousands of fish have been killed in the Murray/Darling system. Rod Mackenzie

Residents call on council to act after fish kill

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are blaming Byron Shire Council for a large fish kill in Tallow Creek over the weekend.

Council said the fish kill was inevitable after having to open the creek due to properties being flooded.

"Council, with cooperation from NPWS and Marine Parks have opened the creek yesterday because it was flooding properties," Byron Shire Council posted on their Facebook page.

"Unfortunately this can sometimes result in a fish kill because of the rapid movement of water and a lack of oxygen.

"Under strict license conditions Council can only open the mouth of the creek when water reaches a certain level.

"This level was reached this week and to protect properties from further flooding the creek mouth was opened manually with water now flowing out to the ocean."

Jane Williams said many dead and dying fish were gasping in the shallows and on the edges of the creek as a result.

She said there were also "huge eels and crabs and a strong stink of sulphur".

Local conservationist, Dailan Pugh said on Saturday "the consequences of the Tallow Creek opening were obvious with thousands of mullet, bream, whiting, flathead and eels dead on the banks and gasping for air in the shallows".

"At the time there was no rain and thus it was certain that without inflows of fresh oxygenated water the draining would result in water becoming de-oxygenated and fish suffocating, as has occurred time and time again.

"As recently as the 1 March Byron Shire Council killed thousands of fish in Belongil Creek when they opened it without rain.

"With the help of the NPWS, locals chipped in with nets, buckets and a wheelbarrow to rescue over a thousand fish trapped in a rapidly drying pool."

Ben Gordon said he saw the fish kill and thought, "there's got to be a better way".

"Surely it can be done gradually so it doesn't kill them?," Mr Gordon said.

Dave Smith suggested the use of a commercial pump.

Council said staff are monitoring the situation with the support of DPI, NPWS and MPA.



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