Department responds to reports of dead fish in Hardy Inlet
Released 15 Feb 2016
The Department of Water has responded to community reports of dead fish found in the Hardy Inlet on 3 February.
Several community members reported between 100-1000 mixed marine species including crabs and a variety of fish, dead and dying in the vicinity of the natural river mouth opening of the Blackwood River at Augusta.
Reports were received by the Department of Water and through the Department of Fisheries’ FishWatch hotline.
Department of Water officers took algal samples at the site on the same day as they received the reports, but were unable to collect fish samples for pathology tests as the fish were too decomposed.
“Algal samples collected and analysed at our laboratories contained a number of harmless freshwater species but no toxic or harmful species to fish were observed,” South West Regional Manager Adam Maskew said.
“It is likely that the marine species were affected by an unexpected change in the salinity condition of the water created by large freshwater flows from the Blackwood River in the days preceding the fish deaths.
The unexpectedly large summer flow of the Blackwood River was a response to the large January rainfall event the previous week.
“Over 32 billion
litres of river flow was recorded in the previous week at the Hutt Pool gauging
station on the Great North Road River Crossing with a peak flow of 9.7 billion
litres recorded on 29 January. River
flows for the same period in 2015 were 200 million litres,” Mr Maskew said.
“When the Department of Water Officers arrived there were small schools of fish swimming in the channel at the river mouth suggesting the event was isolated and short lived.”
The Department of Water undertakes regular water quality sampling in the Hardy Inlet on a monthly basis.
People are asked to report any fish deaths to the Department of Fisheries FishWatch on 1800 815 507. Algal blooms should be reported to ALGALWATCH 08 6250 8064 (office hours).
Contact: Peter Collins
Phone: (08) 6364 6848 / 0434 603 441