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Published: 14 January 2019   •   Media release

The Murray–Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) has called a preliminary meeting of Basin water officials for Tuesday in a two-step approach to help coordinate a cross-border response to the latest fish deaths.

MDBA Chief Executive Phillip Glyde said the meeting will share information about the latest fish deaths, look Basin wide to identify other areas at risk, and identify what can be done.

The meeting will include environmental water holders, river operators, fish scientists and water policy officials from NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and the Commonwealth.

"The fish deaths in the lower Darling River are a tragic reminder of the impact of severe drought, on an already over-stretched river system," Mr Glyde said.

"The meeting will facilitate the exchange of information about what is happening in relation to fish deaths, water quality and drought. It will consider mitigation options, and the role of the MDBA and other water agencies.

"Sadly, fish deaths are common events across Australia, particularly during summer and drought conditions, and we expect more events will happen before the current drought breaks.

"Water officials will also consider how to help fish stocks recover once the drought breaks and more water is available in the Murray–Darling system."

Mr Glyde also said he welcomed the proposal from the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources the Hon David Littleproud for a $5 million Native Fish Management and Recovery strategy.

"The new Native Fish Management Recovery strategy will generate new momentum in strategies to help the long-term future of native fish in the Murray–Darling Basin," he said.

A second meeting of senior officials and other experts will be convened for early next week.


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