on air now

‘Up to a million fish dead’: Murray-Darling River disaster worsens

“Up to a million fish dead.”

That’s the little-known disaster taking place in Australia’s most famous river system, the Murray-Darling Basin.

Blue-green algae blooms have caused multiple mass fish deaths, including Murray cod up to 80-years-old, putting local towns at risk.

Listener Rob phoned Steve Prive from Menindee Lakes, 110 kilometres south-east of Broken Hill, alerting him to the situation.

“Up to a million fish dead. This is an absolute tragedy. This is a man-made disaster.”

Click PLAY below to hear Rob’s call in full

The algae is flourishing due to a lack of river flow, which some are blaming on the drought.

But in reality, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority is diverting river flow away from the area, to benefit the environment in South Australia.

There are also claims the water is being diverted to water-intensive cotton farms in Queensland and New South Wales.

In January 2016 the Menindee Lakes system was 97 per cent full. It’s now down to 3.6 per cent.

The state’s Regional Water Minister Niall Blair tells Steve Price the federal government’s Basin Authority is entirely to blame.

“We don’t have control of the Menindee Lakes when they’re full.

“It is a shared lake… and the ultimate say is done by Canberra.”

Click PLAY below for the full interview

However, Independent MP Jeremy Buckingham says the state government is passing the buck.

“It’s absolute garbage.”

He claims the government agreed with the Murray-Darling Basin Authority’s decision to drain the lakes system, allowing cotton farmers up north to use the water.

Click PLAY below for the full interview

Image: Facebook/Rob Gregory