Authorities explain 'disgusting' mass fish death
AUTHORITIES are investigating after about 250 fish, eels and shrimp are believed to have died of "natural" causes at Wappa Falls, near Yandina.
Sunshine Coast Council officers have closed the area to swimmers and removed the rotting eel-tailed catfish, eels, spangled perch and freshwater shrimp.
Visitors to the popular swimming and fishing spot made the stinking discovery yesterday and had feared the deaths were a result of contamination.
The Department of Environment and Science said the cause is yet to be confirmed, but fish kills are often a result of low dissolved oxygen levels in the water, caused by high ambient temperatures.
"The Department of Environment and Science (DES) is investigating the reported incident, with the assistance of Sunshine Coast Regional Council," a DES spokesperson said.
A council spokesman said the oxygen depletion was likely caused by a naturally-occurring blue green algae bloom, and signage warning of contaminated water due to the kill had been installed at access points.
Seqwater, who operate nearby Wappa Dam, said the dead fish are isolated at Wappa Falls and the contamination posed no risk to drinking water.
"Upstream of Wappa Falls is Wappa Dam which is not open to the public for any water-based recreation, including swimming or shoreline fishing," a Seqwater spokesperson said.
"There are no impacts to drinking water supplied from the Image Flat Water Treatment Plant.
"Water from Wappa Dam is treated at the Image Flat Water Treatment Plant to meet the stringent health requirements of the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines."
The fish kill and associated water quality is being managed by council and the DES.
The council spokesman said they were unaware of any other recent similar incidents.
Locals who had been in the area as far back as the 80s said they had never seen anything like the weekend's mass marine death.
They reported the "disgusting" smell had first alerted them something was wrong yesterday, and the odour remains today despite only few fish remaining.
Members of the public are encouraged to report further fish deaths to the the department's pollution hotline on 1300 130 372.