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Didymo Down But Not Out

Media Release

8 February 2006


Didymo Down But Not Out – Individual Responsibility the Key

Fish & Game today announced today that Chris Carter, Minister of Conservation, has agreed to our request that as from Friday 10 February both the lower Waiau and Mararoa rivers will be re-opened to fishing.

Maurice Rodway, Manager Southland Fish & Game said, “Didymo is still present, and in patches is still reasonably thick. However the floods over the Christmas New Year period have knocked it back dramatically”.

“Our Southland Council initially made the decision to close the rivers to minimize the risk of its further spread and because the alga was very think in these rivers. Obviously with Didymo now also confirmed in the Oreti, Upper Waiau, and Whitestone rivers in Southland, and the Clutha and Waitaki further north, the Waiau and Mararoa now pose no greater threat to further spread than any other infected river. We now are going to have to rely on anglers acting responsibly. Our Council made the decision initially to keep the rivers closed to raise the profile of the significance of the threat that Didymo poses, but now feel that there is a good level of awareness out there,” Mr Rodway said today.

There will be no change however to the requirement to obtain a special licence and a clean gear certificate to fish the rivers of Fiordland. This is being done to make doubly sure that Didymo does not get into the National Park. The licences are available from Fish & Game Southland Region.

Most anglers are doing the right thing, checking, cleaning & drying between different rivers, with some choosing to avoid rivers know to be infected with Didymo.

The best news is that our drift dive surveys of the Mararoa show that trout numbers are high, they’re in great condition, and obviously doing well despite the Didymo. Our original ‘catastrophe’fears may not have been realized. However, it appears that the presence of Didymo will still cause problems for anglers by snagging and clogging lines and lures. Our observations show that it requires a flood of a reasonable magnitude to remove Didymo, although this varies depending on the character of the river and substrate size.

ENDS

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