Bowes River fish kill cause inconclusive
Rainfall combined with warm conditions and stagnant water appear to be the cause of a recent mass fish kill at Bowes River, though Department of Water tests were inconclusive.
About 1000 dead fish were spotted washed up on the riverbank, with locals alerting the Shire of Northampton on February 1, though the actual fish kill event is estimated to have taken place between January 29 and January 30. Investigators from the Department of Fisheries and Department of Water attended the scene to collect water and fish samples, but they may have spotted the problem a little too late.
DoW Mid West Gascoyne Manager Darryl Abbott said their pathology tests “yielded an inconclusive diagnosis due to the state of the samples” — meaning they had decomposed too much to be of use.
“But one sample showed evidence of gill damage consistent with aquatic parasites found in water bodies high in organic matter and debris,” he said. “Rainfall in the catchment running into stagnant water and warm conditions are expected to have contributed to the poor water quality that led to the fish deaths.”
Mr Abbott said the water samples also had a high sediment load, and various species of algae.