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Threatened native fish found alive and kicking

14 December 2004

Threatened native fish found alive and kicking

Auckland Regional Council has discovered a large healthy population of the threatened native black mudfish, last spotted over fifty years ago.

A survey of black mudfish (Neochanna diversus) was undertaken in the Te Henga and Tomarata wetlands during September 2004 as part of the ARC’s State of Environment monitoring programme.

Project Leader, Grant Barnes says the distribution and abundance of native freshwater fish is a valuable indicator of ecosystem health within the Auckland region.

“Freshwater fish are sensitive to a wide range of environmental impacts such as habitat loss, pollution and sedimentation.”

Chair of Environment Management Committee, Dianne Glenn, says the discovery of an endangered native species demonstrates the importance of protecting habitats such as wetlands.

“New Zealand has only ten per cent of its wetlands remaining. The farmer that owns this wetland didn’t drain it, and fenced it to keep stock out. As a result a threatened species has survived,” said Cr Glenn.

Black mudfish live up to eight years and can grow up to 124mm long. When the water runs low they aestivate, a form of hibernation where they bury themselves in mud and slow their metabolism down until they are no longer breathing.

Tomarata wetland is located approximately 60 kilometres northeast of central Auckland, south of Mangawhai Heads. The wetland is private land located adjacent to the Lake Tomarata Scenic Reserve.

ENDS

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