"The stink was terrible. I was worried about my own health."

Keep Calm

Oxygen levels are so dangerously low in an Australian river that millions of fish have died — but don't worry, officials say everything's fine.

Just take it from the Department of Public Industries — whatever that means — in New South Wales, who noted in a Facebook post last week that even though the agency is "aware of a developing large-scale fish death event" affecting "millions" of fish, this kind of thing can sort of just happen to the Bony Herring that keep turning up dead in droves on the shores of NSW's Darling River.

"The Bony Herring species typically booms and busts over time," the DPI post reads. "It ‘booms’ in population numbers during flood times and can then experience significant mortalities or ‘busts’ when flows return to more normal levels."

What's more: these types of fish "can also be more susceptible to environmental stresses like low oxygen levels," the statement notes, "especially during extreme conditions such as increased temperatures currently being experienced in the area."

Something Stinks

There has indeed been a heatwave in Australia's Outback that's caused depleted oxygen levels in the water and likely the subsequent fish kill-off, the Associated Press reported, though it appears that the DPI left out the part about the smell in its post.

"The stink was terrible," nature photographer Geoff Looney told the AP. "I was worried about my own health."

"That water right in the top comes down to our pumping station for the town," he added, and in an interview with the news wire, a local authority affirmed that their agency is working to get clean water to residents.

"There is no need for community concern as the initial assessment has determined multiple viable solutions to maintain water supply to the Menindee township and surrounds," Peter Thurtell, the NSW's State Emergency Operations Controller, told AP.

All told, it sounds pretty freaky — and given that the World Economic Forum has published an explainer on ways to cope with climate change-caused heatwaves, we can't blame the people who live near the Darling River for getting upset.

More on climate: Bad News: Bees Are Dying at a Shocking Rate

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