'This is horrible': Video shows riverbank littered with dead fish

A man has captured video of thousands of dead fish that were found washed up in a Western Australian river.

“How sad is this?” he can be heard saying as he walks past the dead fish in the Greenough River at Geraldton.

“This really is heartbreaking, it shouldn’t be happening,” he continues.

The WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) estimated almost 3000 fish washed up along 100 metres of the lower section of the river and experts are still trying to figure out why it happened.

Pictured is thousands of dead fish washed up along a 100m section of the Greenough River in W.A
About 3000 fish washed up along the lower section of the Greenough River in Western Australia. Source: Facebook/Craig Wise

Locals commented on the video that has been viewed over 28,000 times and are shocked by what they have seen.

“I was just there yesterday, This is horrible,” one person commented.

Others wanted to know when the area would be cleaned up.

“What a shame to see all these fish dead like this, I hope someone comes and cleans this mess up, there has got to be some solution one of the worse kills I’ve seen,” a person wrote.

A scene from drone footage that captures thousands of dead fish along the shore
Drone footage shows how far the dead fish stretch along the shore. Source: Facebook/Craig Wise

In a media statement on July 3, DWER said they were notified about the fish on June 30 and sent officers to asses the scene.

Officers identified the species as mainly bony herring and black bream, with some whiting and hardyhead.

Specimens have been collected to be assessed by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development while DWER said they are analysing phytoplankton samples from the scene.

DWER suggests fish deaths are often water quality related, such as reduced dissolved oxygen and changes in salinity, which DWER say is consistent with the recent rain and high tides in the area.

DWER’s Principal Scientific Officer Tim Storer said that like most river systems where fish kills occur, organic material from the Greenough catchment builds up in the deeper areas near the coast.

“This is particularly true in systems where sand bars reduce flushing to the ocean,” Dr Storer said.

“Seasonal rain events or strong tides bring in additional material and mix what has accumulated over the dry season.

“This provides food for bacteria and phytoplankton which consume oxygen as their populations grow – and in extreme events can result in a rapid drop to concentrations below tolerance of species.”

Yahoo News Australia contacted DWER and while they have no further information at this stage, they are still waiting for test results.

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