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Selfish Act Threatens West Coast Lake

Media release from West Coast Fish & Game

Selfish Act Threatens West Coast Lake

22 January 2013

Media release

Selfish Act Threatens West Coast Lake

Fish & Game and the Department of Conservation have been investigating an incursion of a noxious pest fish into Lake Ianthe.

A bright orange coloured fish approximately 1kg in weight was caught by an angler last week in the Lake. This fish has now been confirmed as a Rudd.

Netting surveys have over the past two days have confirmed the presence of Rudd. Juvenile and adults are present suggesting there was an illegal release approximately 5 years ago.

“With one selfish act, whoever released these fish has put Westland's sports fisheries and waterways at a terrible risk.” Stated Dean Kelly, Manager, West Coast Fish & Game

Lake Ianthe is an exceptional trout and salmon fishery. Rudd introductions can devastate these existing fisheries and lake habitat.

Commonly referred to as the ‘Possums of the Waterways’ Juvenile Rudd eat freshwater invertebrates voraciously, removing a food source for existing fish species. Mature fish eat freshwater plants, destroying food sources and shelter for existing species, and damaging water quality. There are also endangered freshwater plants and macro invertebrates that are a favourite food of Rudd.

Rudd were illegally imported into New Zealand in 1967 from Europe with a consignment of vegetables by ‘Coarse Anglers’.

Fish & Game and the Department of Conservation advise all anglers to destroy any ‘goldfish like’ fish caught, freeze them and hand them in to Fish & Game or the Department of Conservation.

Rudd is classed as a noxious fish species under Freshwater Fisheries Regulations outside of the Auckland/Waikato region. It is illegal to be in possession of these fish let alone release live specimens into a pristine West Coast Lake. The person(s) responsible for this act faces criminal prosecution under the Conservation Act and the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations.

ENDS

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