Relocating indigenous freshwater fish in the Waikato

Relocating indigenous freshwater fish in the Waikato

Kessels Ecology performs aquatic ecological assessment and indigenous species recovery for multiple projects. Recovery fishing in the Waikato this season has yielded some impressive indigenous fish catches.

Between April and June this year, Kessels Ecology fished multiple streams around the Waikato to minimize the effects of development on indigenous fish populations. For example, fishing with fyke nets and Gee minnow traps over two nights in a stream in northern Waikato in April this year caught a total of 38 indigenous fish. This included a longfin eel approximately 1100 mm in length. Also caught were shortfin eels, inanga, and black mudfish (below right).

A further night of fishing in May found 13 indigenous fish including longfin eels, a shortfin eel, inanga, another two black mudfish, and a large adult giant kokopu  at 310 mm long. Indigenous fish were relocated to an adjoining catchment, except for large eel specimens which were relocated to the nearby Waikato River to reduce chances of predation on smaller fish.

Kessels Ecology also fished a large stream near Hamilton for fish recovery during June. With a depth of over 2 m in places, the stream had significant flow. Species caught included common bully, redfin bully, longfin eel, shortfin eel, and many koura. The total number of indigenous fish caught in two rounds of fishing came to 430 fish and 167 koura. These fish and koura were all relocated upstream, with differential sites and timings based on species and size.