Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Giant kokopu hotspot discovered on Waiheke Island

Giant kokopu hotspot discovered on Waiheke Island

An “incredibly exciting” find of a new population of native giant kokopu has been made on Waiheke Island.

A freshwater ecologist for Auckland Council’s biodiversity team, Matthew Bloxham, had a hunch a stream at the eastern end of Waiheke had the qualities giant kokopu need to call a place home.

Teams had already searched 25 streams on the Auckland mainland where sightings of giant kokopu had been recorded. Two surveys in 2014 and 2018 turned up no signs of the threatened native fish.

Then 25 giant kokopu were found in the Waiheke stream a few months ago. A further six of the fish, which can grow up to 45cm long, were found in a different part of the stream a few weeks later.

“That’s really big news for us,” says Mr Bloxham.

“Nationally they are listed as a ‘vulnerable’ species, but we have to try even harder to sustain them in Auckland, given we’re at the upper limit of their distribution.”

A stream at Whakanewha Regional Park on Waiheke has lost all its giant kokopu, but another island stream at Awaawaroa still has a population of 10 to 20 of the native fish.

Extremely small numbers of giant kokopu have been found in a handful of other new sites in Auckland recently, including two at a stream in Whatipu.

The council biodiversity team is now focussing on Waiheke as the main giant kokopu stronghold in the Auckland region, says Mr Bloxham.

“The mainland populations are generally all failing – they’re functionally extinct. So we’re putting most of our efforts into giant kokopu recovery on Waiheke, because we think it holds the greatest promise.”

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

That means tackling the pressures that have driven many populations of the fish to extinction – development, habitat loss, sedimentation, predators, and a lack of logs to hide under.

The team plans to reintroduce giant kokopu at Whakanewha and to potentially boost numbers in the other Waiheke streams once the habitats are improved.

Giant kokopu are being bred in captivity by Manaki Whitebait in Warkworth and fish from the hatchery will be released on Waiheke over the next few years. In July, shortjaw kokopu were bred in captivity for the first time and these will also be released into Watercare dams in the Waitakere and Hunua ranges over the next few years.

The council team is working with Waiheke Forest & Bird members to improve pest management around the Waiheke streams where giant kokopu have been found.

“The eggs are like caviar to many animals – mice, rats, hedgehogs, everything eats them."

Giant kokopu gather to spawn in stream-side vegetation during floods, then must wait for another flood to wash the eggs into the stream. The larvae are carried downstream to the sea, where they are “nailed by all the things out in the briny”. Only a small number make it back into the same stream to replenish adult populations.

Sediment and flooding are other serious pressures on native fish.

Tree planting along stream edges is being carried out to act as a buffer.

Conservation New Zealand, local Forest & Bird branch members and the island community have been helping plant trees around Awaawaroa stream.

Mr Bloxham will give a talk about shortjaw and giant kokopu at Waiheke Sustainability Centre in Oneroa on August 9 at 6pm.

Planting days to support the giant kokopu project will be held at Awaawaroa on August 11 and 25 at 10am.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines


Gordon Campbell: On The Perils Of Joining AUKUS Pillar Two


The lure for New Zealand to join the AUKUS military alliance is that membership of only its “second pillar” will still (supposedly) give us access to state of the art military technologies. As top US official Kurt Campbell said during his visit to Wellington a year ago:
...We've been gratified by how many countries want to join with us to work with cutting-edge technologies like in the cyber arena, hypersonics, you can go down a long list and it's great to hear that New Zealand is interested...
More


 
 


ACT: New Zealand Dodges Dopey Experiment In Prohibition

“Labour’s attempted crackdown on smokers would have delivered criminal groups a near-monopoly over the cigarette trade,” says ACT Health spokesman Todd Stephenson... More


Government: Backs Police To Crackdown On Gangs
The coalition Government is restoring law and order by providing police new tools to crack down on criminal gangs, says Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith and Police Minister Mark Mitchell. “Over the last five years gangs have recruited more than 3000 members, a 51 per cent increase... More


Government: Humanitarian Support For Gaza & West Bank

Winston Peters has announced NZ is providing a further $5M to respond to the extreme humanitarian need in Gaza and the West Bank. “The impact of the Israel-Hamas conflict on civilians is absolutely appalling," he said... More


Government: New High Court Judge Appointed

Judith Collins has announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister Jason Scott McHerron as a High Court Judge. Justice McHerron graduated from the University of Otago with a BA in English Literature in 1994 and an LLB in 1996... More

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels


 
 
 
 

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.