The Department of Health, in consultation with the Shire of Capel, has erected warning signs advising people not to fish or swim in the vicinity of the lower Capel River following the recent report of a fish kill event.
On 8 October 2019, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) reported an estimated 700 – 1000 fish may have perished in a 1km section of the river near the Mallokup Bridge.
DWER measured low dissolved oxygens levels at the impact site – most likely influenced by increased suspended organic material content in the water column as a result of preceding heavy rainfall/ river flushing.
The Shire of Capel also collected water samples for bacteriological analysis, which returned elevated levels at a couple of the monitored sites.
The Department of Health has recommended that the Shire of Capel keep health warning signs in place until further water sampling can confirm a reduction in bacterial numbers.
The Department of Health advises people:
- not to swim in water with large numbers of dead and decomposing fish because they may contain high levels of bacteria and have an objectionable odour;
- not to handle, collect and use dead fish for bait or consumption because of the risk of high levels of bacteria, and the potential for infection through handling or ingestion;
- not to fish in water with large numbers of dead fish; and
- not to allow pets and other animals to come into contact with dead or decomposing fish either in the water or on shore.
Please contact the Department of Health on (08) 9222 4222 for more information.