Date: 22 January 2013
The noxious pest fish, rudd, has been found in a West Coast lake for the first time causing the Department of Conservation (DOC) grave concern.
Fish & Game and DOC have been investigating the incursion of the pest fish into Lake Ianthe/Matahi. A bright orange coloured fish approximately 1kg in weight was caught by an angler last week in the Lake. This fish has now been confirmed as a rudd. Netting surveys over the past two days, confirmed the presence of both juvenile and adult fish.
Rudd - 'possums of the waterways'
“Rudd are known as ‘the possums of the waterways’. Their introduction has the potential to damage our lakes in the same way that possums and stoats have damaged our forests,” says DOC Area Manager Wayne Costello.
“This is a sad case of one or two people spoiling things for the rest of us. We pride ourselves on the quality of our waterways on the coast. They are an integral part of our pristine landscapes. The presence of rudd has the potential to damage both our ecosystems and our tourism industry.”
Mature fish feed on endangered freshwater plants and invertebrates, destroy food sources and shelter for existing species, and damaging water quality.
However, Wayne says there are positive things the public can do to stop the spread.
“Check, Clean and Dry your gear - make sure you aren't accidentally spreading weeds or fish eggs between waterways.
“If you see or catch an unusual or goldfish-like fish in West Coast waterways please photograph or freeze it and hand it in to DOC or Fish & Game with an accurate description of where it was found.”
Possession and release of rudd without authority is illegal under the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations and Conservation Act with fines of up to $5000.
Rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus) is native to Europe, Russia and central Asia. The species was illegally introduced into New Zealand in 1967 via a private consignment of juvenile rudd which were then reared to adulthood and encouraged to breed. The resulting fish were then deliberately and strategically introduced into a number of lakes and ponds in the Waikato.
Rudd has since been progressively and illegally spread around lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the North Island as well as Canterbury and Nelson.
Rudd prefers ponds, lakes and slow flowing streams. They are widespread in Auckland and Waikato (where they are classified as a sports fish) with isolated populations in Northland, Whanganui, Wellington, Nelson and Christchurch.
Rudd is a noxious fish species under the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations 1983 and anyone possessing it without authority can be fined up to $5000. Release of any aquatic life into areas where it doesn’t already occur without authority is also illegal under the Conservation Act 1987 with fines up to $5000.
Cornelia Vervoorn, Franz Josef-Waiau Area Office, +64 3 752 0084.
Wayne Costello, Franz Josef-Waiau Area Office, +64 3 752 0794, mobile +64 22 009 2963.