Cotton Australia statement on fish deaths at Menindee

Jan Cross
January 12, 2019

The cotton industry says it is not to blame for the mass deaths of hundreds of thousands of fish in the Darling River and is exhausted of being a "whipping boy" for problems associated with the drought.

It's just put out a release to the ASX confirming its business is not affected by the Murray River cod-die off which has stolen the social media spotlight in the past couple of days, because it grows Murray cod in tanks, not the Darling River.

A massive fish kill has left hundreds of thousands of bream, Murray cod and perch dead in a 25-mile stretch of the Darling River in southeastern Australia.

Showing the stench has apparently clouded his judgement, Mr Buckingham comes back in shot at the end of the video asking if he can swim in the river where they found the dead fish.

Mr Blair dismissed Mr Daley's demand saying that he had used his first comments about the drought to "rewrite history by ignoring the fact that similar environmental catastrophes happened under their watch when last in government". "You can not dismiss the fact there is a drought and a lack of water".

"The scale of this disaster is extraordinary and unprecedented". The dying algae worsened already low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, pushing many fish beyond their tolerance levels. "We've spent decades and $13 billion only to end up with ecological tragedy in our rivers".

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NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair admits the mass fish death in the Darling River system at Menindee is devastating, and on Wednesday he asked for an urgent report from the Department of Primary Industries and WaterNSW. He added the SDL project at Menindee, which aims to save 105 gigalitres a water a year, must proceed.

Footage posted on Twitter shows former Greens MP Mr Buckingham, who will contest the next election as an independent, holding a dead fish and accompanied by two farmers.

Its water allocation is of "high quality" and its fish stocks are grown in "purpose built ponds with high quality aeration systems". Some of them were up to 100 years old, the men said.

A South Australian royal commission was held in 2018 to investigate allegations of widespread water theft from the Murray-Darling Basin by rogue irrigators with its report expected on February 1.

While the State and Federal governments have blamed the increase in algal bloom events on the drought, furious locals say it's the mismanagement and draining of the lakes by the Murray Darling Basin Authority that is to blame.

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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