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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Thursday 29 March 2018

Fisheries investigating Safety Bay mullet deaths

Update on 29 March 2018

The City of Rockingham has advised that it removed the dead sea mullet from Safety Bay Foreshore this morning (Thursday).

Fish kill notification for Safety Bay.
Time of issue: 4.30 pm
Date of issue: 28 March 2018

Fisheries and Marine Officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development have been investigating a fish kill in Safety Bay.

Following a report of dead sea mullet made by a member of the public to the FishWatch reporting line today (Wednesday 28 March), Fisheries and Marine Officers immediately visited the location to assess the situation.

Estimates indicate about 150 dead sea mullet and a small number of jellyfish along a 400m stretch of beach between Malibu Road and Donald Drive in Safety Bay.

All observed fish along the beach were badly decomposed and not suitable for sampling.

No other dead aquatic animals have been reported or sighted.

The department will continue to monitor the area and respond to enquiries.

As with all fish kills, the department recommends as a precaution people do not collect, handle, or move any dead fish.

The department reminds anyone not to swim or fish in water that looks discoloured, murky, or smells unpleasant, or where there are large numbers of dead fish or other animals.

The public’s involvement is a very important part of the department’s Fish Kill response program. The earlier the department hears about fish kill events, the better chance we have to respond and take suitable samples that will help establish what the cause might be. 

Any fish kills should be immediately reported to FishWatch on 1800 815 507. For further information visit the department’s website at

We advise people to stay safe by following the general Department of Health advice:

  • not to swim in areas of water with large numbers of dead and decomposing fish because they may contain high levels of bacteria and have an objectionable odour;
  • not to fish in water with large numbers of dead fish;
  • temporarily not to collect or consume fish from the waters near a fish kill;
  • not to collect and use dead fish for bait or consumption because of the risk of high levels of bacteria; and
  •  not to allow pets and other animals to come into contact with dead or decomposing fish either in the water or on shore.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development is responsible for responding to fish kill events that occur in ocean environments.

The Department of Water and Environmental Regulation manages investigations on fish kills that occur in estuaries, rivers and naturally occurring inland water bodies.

In both circumstances, scientists from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development carry out laboratory testing of any fish samples assessed as suitable for that purpose and this can take some time.    

Fish kills can occur anywhere in WA’s fresh and marine waters and can occur at any time of the day and in any month of the year.

Fish kills in open ocean areas like this one, may provide less evidence of a direct cause and we explore all possible explanations. It may not be possible to identify a single definitive cause, but every effort is made to establish probable factors.

Any fish kills should be reported to our FishWatch 24-hour hotline on 1800 815 507.

Last modified: 29/03/2018 5:41 PM

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