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Algae keeps fishers away

Saturday, 16th January, 2016

Geoff Looney captured these shots of Mulga Parrots in Menindee. Despite the water being down, there is still lots of birdlife. Geoff Looney captured these shots of Mulga Parrots in Menindee. Despite the water being down, there is still lots of birdlife.

High levels of blue-green algae has scared off potential fishers at Menindee, according to one local.

Menindee resident Geoff Looney said he hadn’t seen many people out fishing lately.

“It’s not a good scene, a lot of people are scared of the blue-green algae,” he said.

It was announced in December last year that very high levels of toxic blue-green algae infesting the Darling River had spread to Menindee.

The poisonous blooms had been detected in the town’s pumping and gauge stations on the river and at Weir 32.

The warning means that the water is unsuitable for domestic or recreational use and may also pose a threat to livestock and other animals.

The blue-green algae may cause gastroenteritis in humans and skin and eye irritation.

People are advised not to enter the water, drink untreated water or bathe in water drawn from the river.

Mr Looney said he hasn’t been doing too much fishing.

“It’s been too hot to fish, it’s also a shame a lot of fish were killed when the water went down.

“I think there is still some water in Wetherell - there is just not a lot of access.”

Mr Looney said Lake Wetherell was in better shape than it was in 2006.

He ran fishing and bird watching boat tours from 1994 until 2006, when he was forced to retire due to low water levels.

“That’s when I gave up doing boat and fishing tours,” he said.

Mr Looney said if people weren’t too concerned with keeping their catch - it was still a relaxing past time.

“It you just want to catch and release - that’s alright.

“Apparently blue-green algae kills animals, it’s really bad.”

After speaking with a tourism officer at Menindee - they are struggling with visitors.

“I spoke with Bruce Knight and he said they need a whole new strategy for attracting people into the town,” Mr Looney said.

“The Lakes are the great feature of Menindee - so it’s really hard.”

Mr Looney is an avid bird watcher and has been spending a lot of time capturing pictures of different species.

“You just have to know where to look; I recently saw a big group of Mulga Parrots - they’re not very common.

“A lot of other birds are nesting. Between the heat and the cold, it’s been hard to capture a lot.”

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