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Thousands Of Fish Wash Ashore After Floods


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Thousands of fish wash ashore after floods

Thousands of dead fish have washed up on the banks of the Richmond River since the weekend after the recent floods on the New South Wales North Coast.

The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says the massive fish kill was caused by a dramatic fall in oxygen levels in the water, which can be attributed to the flooding.

DPI spokesman Marcus Riches says the situation is likely to get worse but the river is yet to be closed to fishing.

"We expect to see a continuation of what's happened over the weekend over the next couple of days," he said.

"As a result of that, we have teams out on the water inspecting the river again. We had teams out on Saturday and Sunday also, so we can get a bit of a picture of the scale of the impact."

Mr Riches says it is not yet known what sort of impact it will have on the local fishing industry.

"The next few days monitoring will help us make that assessment," he said.

"At this point, there is no closure in place. However, over the next few days, we'll certainly be talking to the wild harvest division of DPI and they'll be making a determination then."

Commercial fishers fear their operations on the Richmond River will be shut down for several months.

John Gallagher, from the Ballina Fishermen's Co-op, says a lack of oxygen in the water has left the river stinking and lifeless.

Mr Gallagher says it is the worst fish kill he has seen since 2001.

"It's disgraceful and it is shocking. It's heart-wrenching," he said.

"We're on the river just below Pimlico Island and the amount of prawns on the western-side bank - it is disgraceful to see them. It brings tears to your eyes, really does."

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