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Fish Deaths Continue Across Australia As One Short-Term Solution Is Found

Up to a million fish are dead in the Darling River at Menindee and more are likely to perish in coming days as temperatures rise.

The Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) convened an urgent meeting of Basin officials in Canberra today, including environmental water holders, river operators, fish scientists, and water policy experts.

The gathering included representatives from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, and Queensland - some of whom will be attending by teleconference - along with federal officials.

MDBA chief executive Phillip Glyde said the meeting would share information about the latest fish deaths and identify other areas in the basin at risk of similar events.

It will also tackle the big question of what can be done to stop them from happening.

"The fish deaths in the lower Darling River are a tragic reminder of the impact of severe drought, on an already over-stretched river system," Mr. Glyde said.

As water officials gathered, one short-term solution has been floated: aerators. Recreational fishing group OzFish has already used crowdfunding to buy a machine that will pump oxygen back into the river.

"I am not really into the blame game... it was really heartbreaking to see these native fish die. Some of those fish are fish of a lifetime for recreational anglers. We had to do something about it and we couldn't just sit on our hands and do nothing," Brayden Lampard, OzFish Sunraysia President (Vic)  told The Project.

Between Ozfish Unlimited and BCF they raised funds for an aerator and had an additional aerator donated.

This is just a rescue attempt and we have to acknowledge the Darling River needs a base flow all year... these aerators are going to be pumping 24/7 in a very small area of the Darling River... where fish may be able to wait out this event

Ozfish Director, Bonita Brown described their incredible efforts, “Today our Fisho's got on the water in Keepit Dam (which is next on the list for a fish kill), jumped in their tinnies and revved their outboards in an attempt to provide refuge, desperately pumping oxygen back into the water. They witnessed large Murray cod rise to their bubbles. That is unbelievable.”

Again, our fish need aerators, we are raising money to place aerators into the Darling in two key weir pools, and in two other designated areas that will give our fish the best chance yet as temps hit the roof.

The New South Wales government’s onboard too, in coming days it’ll roll out 16 aerators to try and save at least a few pockets of the stressed river system.

NSW Minister for Regional Water, Niall Blair states, “These aren’t the silver bullet. But these are something we can install to try to keep the level of oxygen levels up for those fish.”

If you head to the OzFish website, you can find all the details on how to donate to OzFish Unlimited - Australia's national fishing conservation organisation that is made up entirely of recreational anglers who volunteer their time to create habitat for our fish.

They have a set up a GoFundMe page and have the support of every BCF store in Australia, where you can round up to the nearest dollar.

Every cent goes towards saving our precious native fish. To donate follow the links below:

www.ozfish.org.au

https://www.gofundme.com/creating-oxygen-refuges-in-the-darling-river

- with AAP