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Government of Western Australia - Department of Fisheries
Friday 8 February 2019

Two new fish kills in Cockburn Sound raise concerns ahead of a hot weekend

​Following Tuesday’s fish kill near Rockingham, two new fish events further north in Cockburn Sound are being investigated by officers of the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Fisheries officers have been attending Woodman Point, to respond to multiple public reports of erratic fish behaviour, described in public reports as “pilchard type fish leaping out of the water”.

The department’s Aquatic Diagnostics pathologists are standing by to receive samples of the fish for laboratory tests. Water samples will be sent to the Department of Water and Environment Regulation’s phytoplankton ecology unit.

Results from the Rockingham fish kill have not found anything unusual that could be a cause of that earlier event, when approximately 1000 scaly mackerel, which is a small tropical sardine, were observed along Palm Beach up to Rockingham Yacht Club. No other species of fish were observed as part of Tuesday’s investigation.
Water sample analysis indicated low levels of phytoplankton, which is unlikely to have caused the fish kill, so additional testing will be carried out to try and determine the cause of the scaly mackerel mortalities.

This morning, the department also received reports of starfish mortalities on Challenger Beach in Kwinana and officers who attended saw up to 100 starfish on the beach, from which samples have been collected for analysis.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Executive Director for Fisheries and Agriculture Resource Management, Dr Rick Fletcher said with hot weather forecast for the weekend water users needed to be aware of the fish kill events this week.

“Fisheries officers will continue to monitor the beaches in case of further fish deaths and any additional species that may be observed,” Dr Fletcher said.

“We also urge members of the public to be watchful and report any fish kill they see to our special FishWatch reporting line on 1800 815 507.

“The key advice around any fish kill is that you do not touch the affected fish or the water in their vicinity, or collect any fish for samples or use the dead fish as bait. It’s also important not to consume any fish that have been caught in the area of the fish kill.”

More information on fish kills is available on the department’s website at:

Last modified: 13/02/2019 11:15 AM

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