A major cleanup effort has been launched after millions of fish died in the Darling River in western New South Wales. Police and volunteers from the conservation organization OzFish have begun removing fish carcasses from densely populated areas, although they acknowledge that not all of them will be collected. Coordination of the reaction and water quality monitoring are being done at the Menindee emergency hub. Following a recent heatwave, it is thought that the fish deaths were brought on by a shortage of oxygen in the river. Although locals have been informed that not all of the fish can be eliminated, contractors will employ a netting process to remove them.

A search and rescue effort has also been launched by OzFish volunteers to save any remaining native fish in the river. With the exception of a few non-native species like carp, most of the dead fish are native species like bony bream and golden perch. The deaths are likely to have been caused by hypoxic blackwater. Federal and state governments are collaborating to look into the root of the problem. Due to drought and human activity, the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia’s greatest river system, is under increasing pressure. According to NSW Police Commander Brett Greentree, the occurrence is unusual because so many fish have perished.