Aussie mass fish deaths spark water debate

Experts claim deaths not due to drought but farmers extracting too much water from river

Independent New South Wales MP Jeremy Buckingham holding a decades-old Murray cod, killed in a mass fish death in the Darling River. With him are farmers Dick Arnold (left) and Rob McBride.
Independent New South Wales MP Jeremy Buckingham holding a decades-old Murray cod, killed in a mass fish death in the Darling River. With him are farmers Dick Arnold (left) and Rob McBride.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Australia has experienced a bizarre environmental disaster in recent weeks as more than a million fish have died in an inland river, prompting debate about whether too much water is being extracted by farmers.

Two main instances of mass deaths have occurred - in December and earlier this month - in the lower Darling River, which forms part of the nation's food bowl. The incidents occurred near Menindee, a small outback town in western New South Wales. Other smaller outbreaks have also occurred.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 28, 2019, with the headline 'Aussie mass fish deaths spark water debate'. Subscribe