In DepthWater Policy

Massive fish die-off sparks outcry in Australia

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Science  25 Jan 2019:
Vol. 363, Issue 6425, pp. 331
DOI: 10.1126/science.363.6425.331

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The impact of an extended drought in southeast Australia was brought home by a recent Facebook video in which two local men stand knee-deep in the Darling River holding the carcasses of two massive Murray carp, long-lived freshwater predators that have perished in unprecedented numbers. Scoffing at claims by officials that the fish die-off resulted from the drought, the men blame politicians for river mismanagement and cotton farmers for taking too much water from the rivers for irrigation. The fish die-off has rekindled a long-running debate over how to balance demands for water from farmers and households with what is needed to preserve the ecology of the Murray-Darling Basin.