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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news