Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Otago’s native fish more threatened


Otago’s native fish more threatened


Otago’s native freshwater fish are facing a crisis as numbers fall steadily largely due to pressure from introduced fish such as trout.

Otago has 11 species of threatened native freshwater fish – the most in any area in New Zealand.

A review of threatened fish by a panel of experts appointed by the Department of Conservation (DOC) has moved three species of Otago fish to a higher threat category. The last review was carried out five years ago.

Three species of fish found only in Otago are classified in the highest threat category - “nationally critical”, five are “nationally endangered”, two are “nationally vulnerable”, and one is “declining” (see new classifications below).

DOC’s freshwater ranger for Otago, Pete Ravenscroft, says while these fish face threats from habitat loss, land use changes, barriers to migration, gravel extraction, water abstraction, drain clearing and degrading water quality, the increased movement of trout into new sites is having the most devastating impact.

“Trout habitat is still naturally expanding into new waterways, without human assistance. We thought after 150 years (since trout were introduced to New Zealand) that they would have moved into all possible waterways but their drive to expand continues, to the detriment of our native fish,” Mr Ravenscroft says.

“Based on the current rate of loss, if these ongoing trout invasions continue, at least two of our species (the Central Otago roundhead and the Clutha flathead galaxias) could potentially become extinct in the next 20-30 years. We’ve really only got two secure populations of Central Otago roundhead galaxias in Otago. Something has to be done now to prevent future losses.”

“In the last 13 years, 20 percent of Otago’s populations of rare fish have been lost and 60 percent of Clutha flathead populations have gone. These losses are alarming. There’s room for everyone – galaxias, trout and landowners – if we can work together on a solution.”

As most galaxias are found in waterways passing through private land, DOC’s freshwater fish team in Otago, led by Mr Ravenscroft, has been working with Fish and Game, Otago Regional Council, water user groups, landowners, iwi and the community in areas with threatened galaxias to remove trout, install barriers to prevent future trout movement, protect habitat, and improve water quality and fish passage.

“We are encouraged by the regional council’s active management of these fish, which can be outside the normal consent conditions. Without the support of all these parties, even more of these fish would have disappeared. Groups such as the Kyeburn Water Users Group are working alongside DOC to ensure the long-term security of their precious Central Otago roundhead galaxias.”

DOC has also undertaken a review of its three freshwater fish recovery plans and groups to assess where there have been improvements, gaps and what more could be done.

But a lot more needs to be done and it’s a bigger problem than DOC can handle on its own, according to Mr Ravenscroft. Solutions could include installing culverts and manipulating water flows to maintain these populations. The streams that contain these threatened fish are generally small – less than 1m in width – and provide no recreation benefit to anglers.
Freshwater ecologist Lan Pham, the Director of the Working Waters Trust which focuses on education and conservation of endangered galaxiid species, says, "The tragedy is we are losing these incredible species before we even get to know them. These fish have their own unique features and stories and are found nowhere else in the world - they are uniquely Otago. The hope lies in enthusiastic landowners and schools in places like the Pomahaka, Lawrence, Kakanui and the Kyeburn where local communities are deciding to get behind their local species and mucking in to ensure their survival."
New classifications of galaxiid (non-migratory) fish species in Otago and the area they occupy:

Nationally critical
Teviot flathead galaxias - .5 ha
Clutha flathead galaxias – 11.8 ha
Lowland longjaw galaxias– 18.7 ha

Nationally endangered
Central Otago roundhead galaxias – 22.4 ha
Dusky galaxias- 7.3 ha
Eldon’s galaxias– 5.4 ha
Manuherikia alpine galaxias - 17 ha
Nevis galaxias – 4.7 ha
Pomahaka galaxias

Nationally vulnerable
Gollum galaxias– 40.8 ha
Taieri flathead galaxias – 21.5 ha

Declining
Southern flathead - 97.1 ha

Captions
Six endangered Central Otago roundhead galaxias eaten by this brown trout. Photo: Daniel Jack

Dusky galaxiid

Maps
Current distribution of Central Otago roundhead galaxias (red, green and black dots)

Potentially what remains (black dots)

Red dots - extinctions
Green dots - currently threatened by trout invasion and extinction
Black dots - currently secure from trout

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Inadequate Response To Sexual Violence Prevention

On combatting sexual violence, the government has finally begun to undo some of the problems that were of its own making. Early in March, ACC launched the Integrated Services for Sensitive Claims scheme – a package aimed at improving the attitudes of ACC staff towards sexual violence victims, and offering them more substantive support.

Hopefully, this will help to reverse the damage done with the insensitive, punitive ACC policy put in place by the incoming Key government in 2009, which in some parts of New Zealand, saw 90 per cent of sexual violence victims being turned away by ACC. More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

"To Help Families Get Ahead": April 1 Changes Kick In

Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership... More>>

ALSO:

Climate: Ministers Exclude Emissions From ‘Environment Reporting'

The National Party Government has today revealed that the national environmental report topics for this year will, incredibly, exclude New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

No Retrial: Freedom At Last For Teina Pora

The Māori Party is relieved that the Privy Council has cleared the final legal hurdle for Teina Pora who was wrongfully convicted of murder and sent to prison for 22 years. More>>

ALSO:

Germanwings Crash: Privacy Act Supports Aviation Safeguards In New Zealand

Reports that German privacy laws may have contributed to the Germanwings air crash have prompted New Zealand’s Privacy Commissioner to reassure the public that the Privacy Act is no impediment to medical practitioners notifying appropriate authorities to a pilot’s health concerns. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Taranaki Iwi Ngāruahine Settles Treaty Claims For $67.5mln

The settlement includes a $13.5 million payment the government made in June 2013, as well as land in the Taranaki region. The settlement also includes four culturally significant sites, the Waipakari Reserve, Te Kohinga Reserve, Te Ngutu o te Manu and Te Poho o Taranaki. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Funeral In Asia, The Northland By-Election, And News Priorities

Supposedly, New Zealand’s destiny lies in Asia, and that was one of Foreign Minister Murray McCully’s rationales for his bungled reforms at MFAT. OK. So, if that’s the case why didn’t Prime Minister John Key attend the state funeral on Sunday of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew? More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf Satire: Not Flag-Waving; Flag-Drowning

The panel choosing the flag options has no visual artists at all. Now, I’ve kerned the odd ligature in my time and I know my recto from my French curve so I thought I’d offer a few suggestions before they get past their depth. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA Reports: Significant Problems In Police Custody

In releasing two reports today, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has highlighted a number of significant problems with the way in which Police deal with people who are detained in Police cells. More>>

ALSO:

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security: Inquiry Into GCSB Pacific Allegations

The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data. More>>

ALSO:

TPPA Investment Leak: "NZ Surrender To US" On Corporates Suing Governments

Professor Jane Kelsey: ‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news