Mass fish deaths in Australia prompt debate on water use by upstream farmers

New South Wales member of parliament Jeremy Buckingham (right) holds a decades-old native Murray cod, which was killed during a massive fish kill in Menindee on the Darling River, as local residents Dick Arnold (left) and Rob McBride from Tolarno Sta
New South Wales member of parliament Jeremy Buckingham (right) holds a decades-old native Murray cod, which was killed during a massive fish kill in Menindee on the Darling River, as local residents Dick Arnold (left) and Rob McBride from Tolarno Station (centre) look on.PHOTO: AFP

SYDNEY - Australia experienced a bizarre environmental disaster in recent weeks as more than a million fish 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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