Millions of fish have died in a river in western New South Wales, Australia after temperatures reached a stifling 40 degrees.

And now a major clean up effort is underway in the "high density areas", but police have been forced to admit that all of the remains wont be removed.

Police said specialists would use "a netting procedure" to remove the vast quantities of fish from along the Darling River.

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One theory around the cause of the mass deaths is low oxygen levels in the river after a recent heatwave around the area in Menindee, a small town in the far west of New South Wales.

NSW Police Commander Brett Greentree said the event was "unprecedented in terms of the millions of fish which have died."

He assured the water quality remained "high", adding: "Our purpose is making sure Menindee has clean water supply… I'm comfortable we're in a good spot regards to water quality at the moment."

"But I need to be very upfront with the community and say 'will every fish be removed?' I don't think so, from the information I've had."

"The worst is still coming" wrote Menindee resident alongside a video her posted on Facebook showing dead fish lining the side of the river.

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Braeden Lampard, from conservation charity OzFish, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the smell is "putrid".

He said his team were transferring rescued fish to a holding tank.

OzFish director of programs Cassie Price said most of the floating remains would sink to the river bed within two days.

"It would be pretty unlikely to get most of [fish] biomass out of the river. It will sink down, which will cause a bit of a nutrient spike, which is not good for the water quality either," she told the BBC.

"It's likely to cause algal blooms, which will cause more issues for a while," she added.

According to the BBC the NSW state government agencies said they were releasing higher quality water to boost dissolved oxygen levels.

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