(Bloomberg) — A series of mass fish deaths in Australia’s major river system that’s caught global attention in the past few weeks has prompted an emergency national meeting to discuss government responses.
The meeting of river operators, fish scientists and water policy officials from the federal government as well the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia on Tuesday will look to identify all at-risk areas, the Murray–Darling Basin Authority’s Chief Executive Officer Phillip Glyde said on its website.
Drought throughout Australia’s southeast over much of the past two years has devastated farming regions and is now stressing the Murray Darling river system, which runs through the four states and waters crops from cotton to grapes. A heatwave forecast for the next five days may prompt further fish deaths, already in the tens of thousands, as rivers and waterholes dry up.
“The fish deaths in the lower Darling River are a tragic reminder of the impact of severe drought, on an already over-stretched river system,” Glyde said in the statement. “Sadly, fish deaths are common events across Australia, particularly during summer and drought conditions, and we expect more events will happen before the current drought breaks.”
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