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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Tuesday 17 December 2019

The crustaceans in the Exmouth fish kill were krill

​​​​Update to Fish Kill Notification
- 17 December, 2019 at 2.50pm

WA Museum has confirmed the crustaceans found dead were indeed krill, with the species name Pseudeuphausia latifrons. This is one of the most abundant krill species found in nearshore areas of tropical Australia. It is not known from the open ocean, but typically in waters of less than 100 metre depth.

Analysis of the sampled krill by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development indicated:

    • All had been dead for some time prior to collection.
    • There was no evidence of white spot disease by molecular testing.
    • Bacteriology results are still pending.

Report fish kills to the 24 hour FishWatch line on 1800 815 507.

Update to Fish Kill Notification
- 12 December, 2019 at 3.10pm

Water sample test results available to the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development indicate a very low density of phytoplankton cells was detected and certainly no potentially harmful species were at densities of concern.

Report fish kills to the 24 hour FishWatch line on 1800 815 507.

Update to Fish Kill Notification
- 9 December, 2019 at 4.30pm
 
Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) monitored the Town Beach location again today with no further dead crustaceans noted.

Samples of crustaceans are undergoing testing in DPIRD's laboratories this week.
 
Report fish kills to the 24 hour FishWatch line on 1800 815 507.

Fish Kill Notification
- 7 December, 2019

Fisheries officers from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) have collected samples of some small dead crustaceans, believed to be krill, as well as water samples from Town Beach at Exmouth.

The collected samples will need to undergo laboratory testing in Perth, in order to determine what has caused the fish kill.


 Samples of the crustaceans will tested to determine cause of death

Many small crustaceans were observed dead along the Town Beach shoreline. The dead crustaceans extended for about 1 kilometre, with no other species thought to be involved.

There have also recently been low tides and hot temperatures in the area and could potentially be associated with this fish kill.

DPIRD officers are monitoring the situation and updates will be issued, when further information is available.

In the mean-time we urge people to stay safe by following the general Department of Health fish kill 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.

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

FURTHER INFORMATION:
The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) 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, DPIRD’s laboratories carry out testing of any fish samples assessed as suitable for that purpose and this can take some time.    

More information about fish kills can be found on the department’s website at www.fish.wa.gov.au.

Last modified: 17/12/2019 2:54 PM

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