Port Macquarie-Hastings Council says there is no reason for the community to be concerned about recent dead fish found at Lake Cathie.
Last week council received a report of dead fish in the vicinity of the Perch Hole, one of the estuaries associated with Lake Cathie.
On Thursday, January 11 the NSW Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair was speaking to media in relation to the Menindee fish kill incident and referenced two further incidents, one being Lake Cathie where ‘hundreds of fish had been found dead’.
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is working to reassure the community and visitors that there are currently no health risks with swimming or recreation activities at the lake.
“Council appreciates that the reference to fish deaths in Lake Cathie in association with the Menindee incident may have caused some concern,” acting general manager Jeffery Sharp said.
“We want to assure the community and visitors to the area that these are two very different circumstances and there is no cause for alarm.”
The NSW Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) was contacted by council in relation to the dead fish at Lake Cathie and have conducted an investigation.
Fisheries found evidence that fish have died in the upper estuary or “Cathie Drain” area, as a result of high temperatures and low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water.
“This is a naturally occurring event which happens from time to time, and Fisheries have confirmed that it is not related to any pollution or toxicity in the lake or associated waterways,” Mr Sharp said.
“Council will continue to monitor the water quality in the lake and advise the community if there are any concerns.
“Whilst the death of the fish, even in small numbers such as this, is unfortunate, we want to reassure the community that the lake continues to be safe for recreation.
“Council will continue to liaise with Fisheries and monitor the situation and advise if that changes.”
Port Macquarie resident Jason Elvidge was at Lake Cathie on Friday, January 11 and said he had not come across any dead fish.
He said he was surprised when he heard about the fish deaths at Lake Cathie.
While at the lake Jason said he had seen a lot of fish jumping out of the water.
It was the first time he had fished at Lake Cathie and said he had caught about 15 throughout the day.
In September, 2002 tens of thousands of fish were found dead at Lake Cathie.
In 2002, the head of the Lake Cathie Fish Kill Committee, Patrick Lee, said circumstantial evidence pointed to the cause being acid sulphate soils, disturbed during development on the lake shore.
However investigations by the council and environmental agencies ruled it out, and pointed instead to a virus as the most likely cause.
Sue Baker is a Dunbogan resident and said she is satisfied with the way council has followed up on the fish kills.
“Council does a lot of testing and are very careful these days in handling environmental matters,” she said.