Vasse fish death response underway
Released 04 Feb 2014
Department of Water staff have responded to a report of dead fish near the Vasse floodgates, Busselton early this morning.
Early surveys indicate several hundred fish have died on both sides of the Vasse floodgates.
Monitoring by the department has shown high levels of the algal species Prymnesium, which can be toxic to fish, present in the water where the dead fish have been found.
"As part of the 2013-14 summer fish kill mitigation and response plan, floodgates were opened by the department and the Water Corporation this morning to allow any fish trapped in the affected area to move into the Wonnerup inlet and out to sea," Department of Water Executive Director Regional Delivery and Regulation Paul Brown said.
"We have responded quickly to this report and followed the inter-agency mitigation and response plan.
"Monitoring shows dissolved oxygen concentrations are within an acceptable range and have remained above trigger levels.
"Samples of the fish have been collected for the Department of Fisheries to undertake pathology tests.
"We now need to look at the result of the pathology tests to determine if possible the cause of the deaths."
The Department of Water is undertaking further water quality sampling and testing and working with the inter-agency Vasse Estuary Technical Working Group to continue to implement the response plan.
Contact with dead fish should be avoided and the Department of Health advises against eating or handling of fish found in these circumstances, and recreating in waterways during a fish kill or algal bloom event. People are asked to report any fish deaths to the Department of Fisheries Fishwatch on 1800 815 507
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441