Fury over fish deaths

Daryna ZadvirnaAlbany Advertiser
Dead fish along the bank.
Camera IconDead fish along the bank. Credit: Greg Sharp

An Albany fisherman has expressed his outrage at the inaction over the deaths of “thousands of fish” left on the bank of the Beaufort Inlet.

Greg Sharpe, who was a commercial fisherman for more than 32 years, said he was distressed to discover such a big volume of dead fish when he visited the area on Sunday.

“I’ve never seen anything like it — to that extent — in my experience,” he said.

“I would very conservatively guess that there were about 50,000 dead fish there.”

On Thursday last week, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation reported about 80 dead fish had been found on the shores of Beaufort Inlet.

DWER’s Albany office attended the site to collect samples of the fish, which included bream, whiting and mullet.

It was understood that high salinity and temperatures in the shallow parts of the inlet would have likely caused the fish deaths.

Mr Sharp said the rise in temperature and salinity was worrying but the lack of action after the incident was an even bigger concern.

“For starters, I would love to just see the fish removed because while the fish are still there there’s more toxins and bacteria going back into the water and contaminating it,” he said.

Mr Sharpe said the incident would likely have a big impact on commercial and recreational fishing in the area.

“It’s hard to judge (the extent) but it will have a big impact socially, economically, environmentally and just all-round,” he said.

DWER spokesperson said investigations into the incident and water testing revealed nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations were above environmental guidelines, however this was not unusual for modified ecosystems where the catchment has been cleared for agriculture.

According to the spokesperson, DWER had also received several notifications from campers over the long weekend and commercial fishers regarding further dead fish around the shore of the Inlet and up the Pallinup River.

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