Cr Keith Williams inspects dead fish at Emigrant Creek in Tintenbar.
Cr Keith Williams inspects dead fish at Emigrant Creek in Tintenbar.

Fears fish kill could be a sign of things to come

THE dry conditions could have led to a fish kill at Emigrant Creek at Tintenbar, and resident and Ballina Shire Councillor, Keith Williams, fears there could be more.

The Northern Star this week reported on salt water fish species like flathead and bream being caught in the Richmond River at Coraki, and even along the Wilsons River close to Lismore.

Ballina fisher and owner of Ballina Bait and Tackle, Brett Hyde, said the salt water was flowing well past the usual tidal zone around Woodburn as the freshwater flow into the river systems was reduced because of the lack of rain.

Cr Keith Williams inspects dead fish at Emigrant Creek in Tintenbar.
Cr Keith Williams inspects dead fish at Emigrant Creek in Tintenbar.

At Tintenbar, Cr Williams said the fish kill with freshwater species like catfish, bass and carp found dead this week could be a sign of things to come in other creeks.

It is hard to estimate numbers of fish killed, but it's likely they are in the tens, not hundreds.

Cr Williams said he couldn't explain the fish kill, but agreed said salt water was flowing past the usual tidal zone, but it could also be pushing stagnant water in pools into the system, starving fish of oxygen.

He said the flow in Emigrant Ck was very low.

"It's a very dry environment," he said.

"We could see this happening more often."

Emigrant Creek dam is located about 3km from Cr Williams' home of five years near the Tintenbar Rd bridge.

As the salt water pushes through, the freshwater species have nowhere to go.

That's been exacerbated by the lack of flow in Emigrant Ck, meaning little water is being released from Emigrant Dam which supplies water to parts of Ballina Shire.

Cr Williams also is the chair of Rous Water.

He reported the fish kill to the water authority staff, and was told some water would be released from the dam to try and stop the fish kills.

However, he agreed that was a fine balancing act as the Ballina Shire will have Level 2 water restrictions imposed from January 20.


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