Published: Sat, January 12, 2019
Science | By Michele Flores

MP Jeremy Buckingham’s vomit-inducing fish kill video

MP Jeremy Buckingham’s vomit-inducing fish kill video

Image: There have been four mass fish deaths since Christmas on the Darling River.

While the State's Department of Primary Industry blames the lack of rain for the event, others believe that too much water was allowed to be taken out of the river for irrigators in recent years.

Ex-Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has made himself an instant meme after almost spewing while holding a dead fish in a video that was meant to highlight the National Party's water policies.

Showing the stench has apparently clouded his judgement, Mr Buckingham comes back in shot at the end of the video asking if he can swim in the river where they found the dead fish.

His daughter, Kate McBride, who is also a farmer, added: "They have survived that many droughts, and the highs and lows of it all, but the one thing they haven't been able to survive is this mismanagement". "I felt so sick that I panicked and jumped in the river to escape it - as bad as it is!" he explained. "You can not dismiss the fact there is a drought and a lack of water".

In a video that has been viewed almost 4 million times, Menindee resident Dick Arnold and rancher Rob McBride say the fish kills are "a manmade disaster".

Upriver the basin is about 20% full but in the lower Darling River levels are as low as 5%, a spokeswoman for the Murray Darling Basin Authority said.

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NSW opposition leader Michael Daley has called for a special commission of inquiry into the incident and vowed to establish one if Labor wins power at the March election.

Days on from Sunday's discovery of the huge fish kill, fisheries staff have mostly left and the bulk of the corpses of bony herring, perches and Murray Cod are disintegrating or sinking from view.

"This mass fish kill be a wake-up call for Australia that we need to get out of a broken loop on water policy and that fundamentally adequate water must be prioritised for the environment before being allocated to large-scale irrigation", Mr Buckingham said as he left for Broken Hill after visiting the dead fish zones on Wednesday.

"You have to be bloody disgusted in yourselves", Mr Arnold said in the video posted on Tuesday.

Algal blooms, which can be caused by agricultural chemicals, have been blamed for the deaths, but locals say corruption and greed are the reasons.

A South Australian royal commission in 2018 investigated allegations of water theft from the Murray-Darling basin by rogue irrigators with a report due in February. The fish kill in the Darling River that we have witnessed, that Dick and Rob have put on social media and is going viral is an absolute catastrophe.

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