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Fish Survey turns up significant rubbish dumping

Fish Survey turns up significant rubbish dumping issue
For immediate release: Tuesday, 5 August 2008
Environment Bay of Plenty is carrying out a survey of East Cape State Highway culverts to identify those that prevent the movement of fish between the streams and the ocean.
The aim of the survey is to identify culverts that could be improved to help fish migrating from the ocean to return upstream habitat and vice-versa.
Environment Bay of Plenty Scientist Matt Bloxham said: “a number of streams have obviously been off limits to fish for many years as some of the obstructions have been around for a while”.
“Reinstating fish passage in some of these will help open up a whole lot of habitat for native fish”.
However, Environment Bay of Plenty staff who are undertaking the survey have also found a significant amount of domestic rubbish dumped in streams and native bush flanking the state highway.
These streams contain fish species that must go to, and return from the sea as part of their life cycle (Diadromous species). Many native fish species prefer to spawn in areas with forested cover and pristine water quality, as is generally the case in these streams.
Environment Bay of Plenty is currently working with Transit New Zealand and OPUS to find long-term solutions to the problem. One option may be to retro-fit defective culverts to reinstate fish passage.
Mr Bloxham said the rubbish, which has included gas cylinders, bags of festering nappies and general domestic waste, posed a serious threat to the ecology of this picturesque and otherwise unspoiled corner of the Bay of Plenty.
“The waterways that people are thoughtlessly heaving the rubbish into aren’t big and therefore are very vulnerable to contamination by human waste,” Mr Bloxham said.  “Many local residents appear to draw their water from these streams so there is a risk in this for them also.
“The amount of rubbish found in just one day’s survey is staggering.  Obviously we are only seeing a small section of the road as most culverts are placed a reasonable distance apart. I dread to think how much more rubbish there is out there,” Mr Bloxham said. 
“Looking after our natural fauna and flora is everybody’s responsibility; this includes recycling and making use of dumping facilities that are provided by council,” he added.


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