More than a thousand fish found dead in creek
LOCALS and holidaymakers were met with disturbing scenes at Emerald Beach over the Easter break after more than a thousand fish were found dead along Fiddamans Creek.
Emerald Beach resident Mark Ingleby said he was walking the dog on Saturday morning when the creek began to flow out carrying "clumps” of hundreds of dead fish, mostly mullet.
"The water was just putrid and dirty, it had sludge and scum on top of it. It had a smell too,” Mr Ingleby said.
"Some of the fish were up to 10-12 inches long, there were just patches of them floating on the water.
"There were kids picking them up and putting them in plastic bags. Right in the middle of holiday time, it definitely wasn't a good look.”
A resident at a nearby caravan park reported the fish kill to Coffs Harbour City Council, saying he believed the cause was a sewage spill.
A council spokesperson however confirmed no sewage spill had occurred.
"Council staff checked the sewage lines and the creek water and determined that the creek was free of sewage and no spill has occurred,” they said.
NSW Department of Primary Industries Fisheries officers conducted initial investigations at the scene of Fiddamans Creek on Saturday, confirming an estimate of over a thousand sea mullet and over a hundred bream were seen dead along the stretch of creek.
A DPI spokesperson said the initial investigations found low dissolved oxygen levels at the site on Saturday (2mg/L), which has slightly improved on Sunday (4mg/L).
It was reported to NSW DPI that the creek had naturally opened to the sea on Friday afternoon, and heavy rain fell that night.
The council and NSW DPI are continuing investigations into the fish kill.
Residents can report fish kills via the Fishers Watch Phone line on 1800043536.