Council continues fish kill clean-up

Date published: 7 March 2016

The Townsville City Council is continuing a clean-up operation after a fish kill in the Ross River over the weekend.

Crews have been working since yesterday to remove dead fish from a stretch of the river between the Nathan St bridge and Aplins Weir.

Council environmental staff are awaiting laboratory tests, but preliminary water quality analysis indicate low levels of oxygen in the water, the most likely cause being stormwater run-off flushing nutrients and organic matter into the waterway.

Acting executive manager of council’s Integrated Sustainable Services department Chris Manning said the council would continue the work to collect dead fish over the next few days.

“The council has had staff on the river and along the shoreline conducting the clean-up since yesterday and that will continue until we have removed the dead fish,” Mr Manning said.

“Our water quality tests have shown very low levels of dissolved oxygen in that section of the river which is a common cause of fish kills.

“While we believe at this stage that this was a naturally caused event, signage has been placed along the effected section of the river as a precaution advising the public to avoid contact with the water.

Mr Manning said the council had advised the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) of the fish kill.

“The council will continue to work with State authorities on the investigation into the causes of the weekend’s event,” Mr Manning said.

The council has estimated the event killed in excess of 400 fish, a vast majority boney brim, but also barramundi, Tilapia and gar fish.

Staff will continue to monitor the river this week and conduct regular water quality testing.