AN environmental disaster hit picturesque Congo Creek last week, in which thousands of fish were killed.
A Congo resident sounded the alarm on Wednesday after discovering multitudes of dead and dying fish.
Residents had reported a lot of weed floating at the water’s edge over preceding days.
Authorities such as National Parks and Wildlife Service (which runs the Congo campground next to the creek), NSW Fisheries, the Marine Park Authority, the Environ-
mental Protection Agency and Eurobodalla Shire Council were quickly alerted.
Some nearby residents and campers reported a strange smell which they said was not that of dead fish.
At this stage many of the fish were still alive, albeit struggling and gasping for air, so a rescue effort began.
NPWS campground caretaker Kerry Millard and others began collecting the survivors and releasing them in safer waters, and council staff erected health hazard signs.
“I’ve been coming here (to the Congo campground) for years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” camper June Chilvers said.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of them; all you could see was white right along the banks of the creek. There were bream, eels, catfish, mullet, garfish and crabs. I couldn’t believe there were so many fish in there. It’s devastating.”
Many of the dead fish have been washed out of the creek by the tide. Seagulls and pelicans were seen feasting on the fish, but no dead or sick birds have so far been reported.
“Inspection of Congo Creek by DPI marine parks officers on February 27 confirmed a minor fish kill in the vicinity of the playground equipment” A Department of Primary Industries spokesman said.
“Hundreds of freshly dead and dying bream, mullet and luderick were observed along the water’s edge and floating in the water.
“The suspected cause is localised low levels of dissolved oxygen.
“DPI requests that anyone noting fish kills report them as soon as possible on the Fishers Watch hotline, 1800 043 536.”