‘Natural event’ to blame for dead fish says Gold Coast City Council

THOUSANDS of dead fish found floating in a river on the Gold Coast may have died from recent freezing overnight temperatures, Council says.

Locals were shocked after waking to find thousands of dead bream floating in waterways around Benowa and Bundall on both Saturday and Sunday morning.

In a statement on Saturday, Gold Coast City Council said the deaths were believed to have been caused by a natural event.


“Gold Coast Water staff are taking samples from a small tributary in Benowa, off the Nerang River, following the discovery of dead fish in the area,” the statement said.

“It appears this is a natural occurrence, related to when water temperatures drop significantly and impact oxygen levels.

“City staff will remove the dead fish and Gold Coast Water officials will undertake water testing over the next few days.”

The scene in Bundall on Sunday morning | (Source: Tabitha Stephens)

The scene in Bundall on Sunday morning | (Source: Tabitha Stephens)

Local resident Tabitha Stephens was walking her dog in Bundall when she filmed the below video on Sunday morning.

“All the fish are dead, not just the small ones, and there’s a few eels floating around trying to clean up the mess,” Ms Stephens said.

Ms Stephens said she saw the fish splashing about in the shallows, “trying to beach themselves” the day before.

She filmed the second video below on Saturday afternoon.

“All the small bream seemed to be trying to beach themselves. It was very bizarre.”

The deaths on the Gold Coast come just two weeks after 500 Australian bass were found dead in similar circumstances in a dam near Uki, south of the border.

In a statement, Tweed Heads Shire Council said the fish had been starved of Oxygen, with the dam having undergone a “seasonal overturn”.

At the time, Acting Manager for Water and Wastewater Michael Wraight said the deeper de-oxygenated waters had upwelled to the top of the dam.

“This is a natural process and happens annually around the beginning of winter as the top water layers cool and sink to the bottom forcing the bottom layers up,” Mr Wraight said.