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MP vomits as he slams Nationals for mass fish death

MP vomits as he slams Nationals for mass fish death

In a video that has been viewed almost 4 million times, Menindee resident Dick Arnold, right, and rancher Rob McBride say the fish kills are "a manmade disaster".

The cotton industry says it is not to blame for the mass deaths of hundreds of thousands of fish in the Darling River and is exhausted of being a "whipping boy" for problems associated with the drought.

"We're looking at the operating rules around the Menindee Lakes and what we can do". Like Kate, they say the large scale fish deaths are not due to drought but are "brought to you by the NSW government".

"It's a national disgrace, this once magnificent Murray cod is dead, and it absolutely stinks".

For his part, NSW Water Minister Niall Blair visited Menindee on Wednesday to survey the carnage first hand, but snubbed the 160 concerned community members who had gathered to speak to him.

In a video that has been viewed almost 4 million times, Menindee resident Dick Arnold and rancher Rob McBride say the fish kills are "a manmade disaster".

Ranchers and other residents say government water policies are the real cause.

"You can not dismiss the fact there is a drought and a lack of water".

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"In fact, numerous fish kills occurred in the lower Darling and Menindee Lakes in the period 2002- 2004 during the Millennium drought", he said, citing Lake Pamamaroo which dried out in December 2002, three separate fish kill events in August 2003 on the Darling including at Menindee and one upstream of Pooncarie in February 2004 involving hundreds of Murray Cod.

"You can't dismiss the impact of drought when in the last six months, we have had 30 gigalitres of water flow in the Northern System, while in an average year we would expect 4,000 gigalitres".

"More oxygen will be taken out of the water and the remaining fish, which are pretty much only carp, are going to continue to die - further fish kills will be seen undoubtedly", she said.

But it is former Green now independent MP Jeremy Buckingham's hilarious reaction during a Facebook video that is drawing all the attention, for the wrong reasons.

Mr Buckingham was standing on the side of the river with local farmers Dick Arnold and Rob McBride, brandishing the rotting carcass of a native, critically endangered Murray cod to highlight the environmental emergency when the smell became all too much. But, as an industry, we are growing very exhausted of being "the whipping boy" for all the problems that are being brought on by this crippling drought.

He said the Murray-Darling Basin Authority could also appear to answer some questions too.

Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.