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Veterinary Scientist Matt Landos Questions EPA’s Investigation into Menindee Fish Kills

Matt Landos is an the director of the Future Fisheries Veterinary Service and is an honorary

lecturer and associate researcher at Sydney University in the Faculty of Veterinary Science. He is also an affiliate of Charles Sturt University and has contributed to projects at the University of Adelaide University, Southern Cross University, and the University of Queensland. Much of Dr. Landos’ work has been focused on how pollution interferes with waterways, particularly pesticides and plastics.

Dr. Matt Landos in a speed boat through one of Queensland's waterways. The text "Matt Landos" is foregrounded.

The Menindee Fish Kills

Dr. Landos provided a public submission to the independent review which was investigating the 2023 Menindee Fish Kills. In the submission, Dr. Landos refuted the EPA’s suggestion of flooding being a cause of the fish kills, noting that “floods historically caused booms in aquatic productivity for native fish and crayfish.” Furthermore, Dr. Landos rejected the EPA’s conclusion of “lack of oxygen” being a cause for the fish kills:

“You don’t just get a ‘lack of oxygen’ that kills millions of fish. It is water flow controls that are unable to deliver healthy water quality downstream, diffuse source pollution by nutrient and pesticides, and inadequate wetland management that set the scene for the kills. These changes are decades in the making and will take time to unwind and restore.”

Dr. Landos has also raised questions regarding the EPA’s investigation into the Menindee Fish Kills on social media, posting to LinkedIn

“The last of the dying cod in Menindee, 5 fish >80cm dead 21 october 2023... and no oxygen crash evident at monitoring station. So why did NSW EPA find no pesticides in the river from March-June 2023, but CSU found heaps in August 2023. What's killing the last cod and killing the Darling River? “

Contamination of Waterways from Agricultural Chemicals

Dr. Landos was interviewed by the ABC in regards to Bruce Maynard’s battle with the EPA over alleged spray drift harming the local vegetation. Dr. Landos stated that it’s well understood that water runoff from agricultural land is polluted by agricultural chemicals:

"What we know from monitoring [in Queensland] is that pretty much all waters that drain from agricultural land in Australia are contaminated with residues of products applied as pesticides.”

Dr. Landos also noted that while New South Wales did not have the same level of surveillance of the state’s waterways as other states, it was “almost certain” that New South Wales’ waterways were contaminated by agricultural chemicals and ultimately harming fish populations:

"From the fishery point of view, their productivity can be impacted by very low exposures to chemicals, impacting the viability of the food web, and the recruitment of new juveniles into fisheries," he said.

Sources & Further Reading

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