Investigations Underway After Dead Fish Wash Up in Milton, Other Suburbs Near Brisbane River

Hundreds of dead fish have mysteriously appeared along the banks of the Brisbane River over the past few days, including in Milton, sparking an investigation by authorities.

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The dead fish, including species such as mullet, bream, catfish and mud crabs, have also been spotted by residents and passersby in locations along the river including West End, Kangaroo Point, and Indooroopilly.

Experts are studying the exact cause of the mass fish deaths, which have prompted warnings from authorities for people to avoid the affected areas.

Photo credit: Jonathan Sriranganathan/Facebook 

“We’ve received reports of dead fish and crabs in the city reaches of the Brisbane River, spanning from Jindalee to Kangaroo Point. Our environmental officers are on the case and have taken water and fish samples to investigate the cause of these deaths,” the Queensland Department of Environment and Science stated

Whilst some suspect the deaths may be linked to recent flooding in the region, a university professor believes it is unlikely to be caused by freshwater alone. The species found dead are known to be quite resilient in freshwater. The professor believes It could likely be caused by localised spill or some sort of toxic event in the area.

Dead fish at the banks of the river in West End (Photo credit: Jenne Roberts/Facebook)

Some local West End residents agree, saying there was nothing like this after major floods in 2022. However, other long-time residents disagree, recalling mass fish deaths in the river after previous flood events.

Jonathan Sriranganathan, Greens’ candidate for Lord Mayor of Brisbane, stated in a social media post that he observed the river looking very oily over the past few days. He suspects the mass death of fish is connected to an oil spill rather than just stormwater runoff. 

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Authorities continue to investigate the cause and have warned people to avoid touching or eating the dead fish as tests are conducted for potential contaminants.

Residents have expressed alarm at the unusual and unexplained fish kill spreading along sections of the river. Queensland Environment says it is collaborating with technical specialists to identify any pollutants that may have caused the sudden deaths.

Published 6-February-2024