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Friday, July 27, 2012

Algal bloom kills hundreds of fish in Swan River, Australia

Hundreds of fish have gone belly-up in the Swan River and others are slowly dying as the latest toxic algal bloom to hit the river takes it toll.

The Swan River Trust is responding to sightings of the dead and sluggish fish near the Ascot Waters marina.

Elevated levels of the microalgae Karlodinium veneficum, which is potentially toxic to fish, have been detected in the area over the past few weeks.

A similar outbreak in June killed more than 2,500 fish in a 13km stretch of the river from Bassendean to West Swan.

Principal scientist with the trust Kerry Trayler said the free-floating microalgae were known to affect the capacity of fish to extract oxygen from the water.

She said while the algae was not toxic to humans precautions should be taken in relation to the dead or dying fish.

“The Department of Health advises that people should not swim in, or fish in, water with dead and decomposing fish. They should also keep pets and other animals away from the fish because they may contain high levels of bacteria,” she said.

“Sluggish and dead fish should also not be collected and used for bait or consumption because of the risk of high levels of bacteria.” Source