Fish deaths in Kimberley swim spot
Released 27 May 2011
Twenty eel-tailed catfish, Hyrtl's Tandan (Neosilurus hyrtlii) and 20 Western Sooty Grunters (Hephaestus jenkinsi) commonly found in the region were found either dead or dying on Tuesday.
Staff from both departments responded to the incident and collected fish, phytoplankton and water samples on the day of the report.
"The cause of the kill remains unknown and is currently being investigated, however low dissolved oxygen levels below 4 mg/L measured by the Department of Water is likely to be related," Department of Water Kimberley Regional Manager David Munday said.
"The Department of Fisheries Fish Health Section and the Department of Water Phytoplankton Ecology unit are carrying out analyses to investigate the pathology of the incident including possible disease and the presence of toxic algae."
Anoxic conditions can result from high rainfall events; for example, through the release of nutrients of through increased turbidity clogging gills.
"This is supported by over 300 mm of rain recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology over three days in early April 2011 in the surrounding areas," Mr Munday said.
Officers have removed most of the dead fish from the area and erected temporary signage around the pool indicating the event has occurred. Water will be monitored over coming days.
Mr Munday added the permanent pool is not connected to any downstream river system.
"The Department of Health has also been notified and they have provided general recommendations that apply to all stagnant water containing dead fish," he said.
"People are advised not to swim or have contact with the water, and are also reminded to keep pets and animals out of the water.
"Anglers are advised not to fish in the affected areas, and are cautioned against collecting any dead fish for bait or consumption – decomposing fish may contain high levels of bacteria."
The Department of Health recommends that these warning should be adhered to until follow-up sampling indicates it is safe to have contact with the water.
For further information, contact David Munday at (08) 9166 4101.
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441