Estuary fish left to rot

RESIDENTS facing the Vasse River estuary are angry that thousands of dead fish have been left to rot on the banks and in the waterway.
Nanjing Night Net

When the Department of Water was contacted about the cleanup the Mail was referred to the city as they were coordinating the cleanup, however the city said it had finished.

The Department of Water said the combination of water and fish pathology tests would indicate that the likely cause of the fish deaths was an adverse reaction to noxious substances and bacteria associated with the breakdown of high organic loads washed down the drains by the first winter rains.

“Low dissolved oxygen was found in initial water tests and although it appears not to be the direct cause of death, it is likely to have contributed,” a spokesperson said.

The deaths have sparked a call for action from Busselton mayor Ian Stubbs and the Minister for Fisheries and Vasse MLA Troy Buswell.

Mayor Stubbs, has formally written to Mr Buswell, urging the State Government to appoint an independent person to undertake a thorough review of the management of the waterways, and advise the State Government on the changes necessary to ensure these kinds of events did not occur in the future.

“Thousands of fish died during this latest incident, which the city believes could have been avoided if the right management structures were in place and resources available.”

Mr Buswell has supported Mayor Stubbs’s request. He said there were important issues that needed to be dealt with.

He has written to the Minister for Water Terry Redman saying the deaths were very frustrating and “clearly shows that no lessons have been learnt from the 2010 event”, when there was a previous mass death of fish in the estuary.

Estuary resident Phillip Moore, who was one of the first to discover that fish were dying was disappointed that the fish cleanup was called off.

A member of FAWNA he said they had done a conservative survey, which estimated 45,000 fish had died over three kilometres.

“It was clear that with the minimal resourcing and absence of agency responsibility that there was no plan in place for a cleanup of this magnitude,” he said.

“This is very sobering due to the number of kill events that have happened here.

“The concern now is the impact of those tens of thousands of rotting fish left in an estuarine system that was obviously sick before this episode.

“We need a lead agency to now come forward and work with these agencies and concerned community members on improving the health of the estuary.”

FAWNA president Jeff Falconer indicates to some of the rotting fish in the estuary.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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