An estimated 17,500 fish have died in what is believed to be a naturally occurring fish kill in the Kimberly region, in Western Australia’s far north.

The discovery of the dead fish may be linked to a culmination of environmental factors.

More than 37 different species of fish began washing up dead on beaches near Broome last Monday.

Higher than normal water temperatures coupled with warm weather and sustained onshore winds have been floated by the department as contributing factors.

Experts predict the deaths were contained to a localised area before the fish carcases were spread by strong tides.



A Department of Fisheries spokesman said the fish kill had affected mainly small fish, with less than three per cent recorded at more than 30cm long.

Dead marine species have been found along a 60km stretch of coastline between Willie Creek and Cape Bertholet, but the Department of Fisheries believes the deaths have passed, with no fresh discoveries on Sunday.

Fish and water samples have been sent to the department’s fish health unit for testing, with results expected in coming weeks.