By Cornelia Vervoon, Partnerships Ranger, Franz Josef
Rangers Mirella Pomeroy and Myles Riki were out in Saltwater Forest on the West Coast last week completing the local annual mudfish (Neochanna apoda) survey.
Ranger Myles setting one of the mudfish traps
They set 30 traps and caught 32 mudfish, half a dozen koura/crayfish and some kokopu – a great result!
A mexican standoff between a mudfish and a koura
Mudfish are under increasing threat from habitat loss, so to find them thriving in Saltwater Forest is a really positive sign.
Two mudfish in one go
Mirella found out what the bigger ones have been eating:
“We caught this one mudfish, which we thought was pregnant because it had a really big belly. Then we picked it up for a closer look… and it regurgitated (“blleeerrrgh”) a juvenile kokopu into Myles’s hand.”
A mudfish up close
You can find more information about mudfish and New Zealand’s other freshwater fish species on the DOC website.
Perfect mudfish habitat – Saltwater Forest, South Westland
Meet Teviot flathead galaxias, one of the five species of New Zealand native freshwater fish, whose threat of extinction has recently been listed as nationally critical—the highest threat category…
Gulp, gulp… I’m Teviot flathead galaxias, but you can call me Tev.
I live, with every other Teviot on the planet, in a small part of the Teviot River in Otago… gulp, gulp.
If you think that sounds crowded you’d be wrong. There aren’t that many of us. Probably less than 100. So, it’s actually kinda lonely.
Not just any Teviot flathead galaxias — it’s me!
I may not be as famous as Sirocco the kākāpō (…yet), but some of my family are quite well known. Unfortunately for them though, it’s for how they taste in a fritter… gulp, gulp.
I am every bit as threatened as my feathery friend though. We’re both classified in the New Zealand Threat Classification System as ‘nationally critical’—that’s just one step away from ‘extinct’… gulp, gulp.
It’s tough to be a small fish like me, as there are many threats to my home, including land use changes, gravel extraction, water abstraction, drain clearing and declining water quality… gulp, gulp.
On top of all this, introduced trout—who are a lot bigger than me—think I’m quite tasty… gulp, gulp—just like you humans with your whitebait fritters.
Gollum galaxias – classified as ‘nationally vulnerable’
I think there’s room for us all—native fish, trout and humans, but we fish rely on you humans to talk to each other and work together to come up with ways to keep our rivers and lakes clean and beautiful and, importantly, to keep me off the ‘extinct’ list… gulp, gulp.
Longfin eel – classified as ‘declining’
If you’d like to know more about the conservation status of New Zealand freshwater fish you can find our more information on the Waiology blog.
By Rob Griffiths, Community Relations Ranger, Rotorua.
Just over a year ago, inspired by a Te Arawa Lakes Trust initiative, a small project team was formed with the ultimate goal of providing a sanctuary for koaro, a little native fish, in the upper reaches of Hamurana Springs near Rotorua.
The initial focus was on constructing a weir across the stream to help exclude trout, and then later to remove the trout from the upstream side of the spring.
Check out this little sucker
Projects that happen in streams, rivers or lakes around the Rotorua region are never simple! Generally you need resource consent from the regional council, approval from Te Arawa Lakes Trust (as they manage the beds), local iwi require consultation, and often approval is needed from Fish & Game and NIWA. Rather than going through the motions and pushing on alone, a working group that included all the associated organisations was formed and this collective expertise and commitment proved invaluable to the project.
Hamurana Spring trout barrier
DOC Ranger Kristina Thompson has been involved since the outset. She felt it was important to involve as many of the relevant organisations as possible as partners in the project. Their approval is one thing, but having them on board as partners in the project brought the added benefit of their skills and knowledge.
The weir is simple in design and construction, having a slightly sloped downstream side to allow koaro to climb, and a grate to repel trout from jumping over. A distinguishing feature of koaro is their ability to climb up very steep surfaces such as waterfalls, dams and even white-baiters’ buckets.
Iwi wader training
To date, Kristina has been both surprised and delighted with the results of the project. It is the first structure of its kind in the Bay of Plenty and so far the results have been positive. Recent monitoring of koaro above the weir shows that numbers of koaro have sky rocketed, and the waterways they are now found are much more dispersed than previously reported.