(CNN) Millions of dead fish washed away in a river near a small Australian town, in a phenomenon state officials say is linked to “heat wave conditions” sweeping the country.
A video that emerged this week shows swarms of dead fish floating in the Menindee Weir pool near Broken Hill, CNN affiliate 9News Australia reports.
“Large amounts” of fish, including boneless carp and herring, along with nutrients and organic matter from the flood plain, have been forced back into the river because of the hot weather, according to NSW’s Department of Primary Industries (DPI). Wells.
“Fish mortality is associated with a decrease in oxygen levels in the water (hypoxia) as floodwaters recede,” she explained in a statement this week.
“This event continues as a heat wave… continues to put further stress on a system that has experienced severe conditions from widespread flooding,” the DPI said.
“The current hot weather in the region also exacerbates hypoxia, as warmer waters contain less oxygen than cooler water and fish need higher oxygen at warmer temperatures,” she added.
Heatwaves across Australia are becoming more frequent and intense as climate change worsens and global temperatures continue to rise.
Experts and government agencies have warned Australia will continue to see spikes in heavy rainfall and heat, as well as more serious fires.
Menindi, a rural town in the far west of New South Wales, has a population of around 500, according to census figures.
Dead fish sightings have also been reported this week in the Macquarie Valley, a suburban area and national park.
This wasn’t the first time the people of Menindee had witnessed mass fish deaths.
Thousands of dead fish were reported in the area in February and a similar event occurred in the area in 2019.
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