Some fish species are dying in the Queensland coast due to the drought, a study has found.
Key points:The study found a high proportion of fish in the Great Barrier Reef are dying due to pollution and climate changeIt is believed to be the worst case yet of climate change in a reef ecosystem, the study foundThe study of more than 7,000 fish found many were dying due a combination of environmental and climate factorsThe research was conducted by researchers at the University of Queensland and the Queensland Government’s Marine Science College.
Researchers said a high number of fish species were dying in one of Queensland’s largest rivers.
They found the high mortality rates were linked to pollution of the Great Bend River, a major waterway for thousands of people in the region.
The researchers found some fish species that were found to be critically endangered, such as the barnacles, were dying because of pollution and not because of climate changes.
The Great Bend, which runs for four kilometres along the Great Ocean Road, is an important waterway through the Great Australian Bight.
The research has also found the rate of fish dying is higher in cooler years.
“The study is very clear that climate change is having a negative impact on marine ecosystems, and it’s affecting fish populations, and that’s why we need to be very careful,” said Dr Matthew Hutton, from the University’s Department of Environmental Science.
“We need to understand why we’re seeing this.”
Professor Hutton said the findings showed that environmental change was affecting fish population, and not climate change.
“It’s probably the worst possible case yet that we’ve found,” he said.
“I would hope that the scientists would look at the data in this way, so we can be confident that the data is the right way to interpret it.”
The study was commissioned by the Queensland Environment Department.
Professor Hutt said the study showed that the Great Bight was one of the largest waterways in Australia and was not a particularly high-risk area.
“This study shows the extent to which we’re affecting our waterways in terms of pollution, we’re altering the water and we’re impacting fish populations,” he explained.
“Our scientists are doing an outstanding job in studying the environment.”
The Queensland Government is currently investigating the study.