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Minister receives death threats over unprecedented mass fish death

12 January 2019

Dick Arnold and Rob McBride held up two massive fish as they accused the government and cotton growers for the "man made environmental disaster" which they said made them feel like crying.

Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW, said he was surprised by the grim sights of mired animals near Menindee Lakes. That incident was also blamed on algae, which is said to be more prolific this summer because of ongoing drought.

The immediate cause of Menindee's calamity was a change in temperatures that killed much of the blue-green algal bloom on that part of the river.

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.

"Unfortunately this is the sort of thing we do see during drought", he said.

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Her water minister - who has been savaged by some Menindee locals for partly blaming the drought - said fish kills are not a new phenomenon and happened in the region between 2002 and 2004 during the millennium drought.

"You can't dismiss the impact of drought when in the last six months, we have had 30 gigalitres of water flow in the Northern System, while in an average year we would expect 4,000 gigalitres".

"They don't understand what it would mean [to cancel it]", Blair says, of the NSW Labor stance.

"In hindsight, this was probably a poor decision, but it does highlight the incredibly hard task of managing flows in a manner that minimise losses, but ensures enough water is available for communities and the environment during extended severe droughts".

Earlier on Thursday, Mr Blair told the Herald that he had asked his departments to conduct an urgent study into the fish deaths and the subsequent clean-up.

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"The scale of this disaster is extraordinary and unprecedented", Mr Daley said.

But it is former Green now independent MP Jeremy Buckingham's hilarious reaction during a Facebook video that is drawing all the attention, for the wrong reasons.

These events are isolated to the Darling River - all of MCA's production is based on the Murrumbidgee and Murray River Systems and we have sufficient allocation of high quality water.

Michael Murray, general manager of Cotton Australia, sought to counter criticism of irrigators and his industry for the plight at Menindee, say the state's cotton output would halve this year.

He said the problem could be traced back to management of water by state and federal levels of government and both of the major parties.

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Minister receives death threats over unprecedented mass fish death