How To Choke A Fish!

Published : 16 May, 2017

This recent news story confirms my long held belief that you should never invite a fish to afternoon tea if scones, jam and cream are on the menu.

The story was reported in the press regarding a recent environmental incident:

A Victorian dairy company has been fined for releasing several hundred litres of cream via a stormwater drain. The cream mixed with water in the drain however the dairy company managed to contain and clean up the spill in the drain before it could enter a nearby lake. The company also advised the EPA of the incident.

EPA officers responding to the incident did observe fish in the drain gasping at the surface of the contaminated water in the drain.

This led to claims that the cream was choking the fish!

The dairy company was fined $7773. This is a very low level fine due to the fact that the company notified the EPA and cleaned up the spill promptly which prevented significant environmental impact.

On a serious note I have observed fish (mullet) feeding on the floating butter fat in effluent discharged from a butter factory. Admittedly this was a long time ago when butter factories were permitted to discharge waste directly to the river.

At least that is how I interpreted the fish behaviour at the time. The difference in appearance between a fish feeding and choking may be a fine line to a non-piscatorial expert like me.

The dairy company appears to have responded to this incident in a textbook manner. I am sure that they are now taking the appropriate corrective actions to reduce the risk of a re-occurrence of this type of incident.