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Council tackles koi carp menace

Environment Waikato is tackling the threat of the pest fish koi carp in the Region’s waterways with several initiatives.

Freshwater ecologist David Speirs told this week’s Biosecurity Committee meeting that the Council was undertaking monitoring and surveillance, public education and research into potential control methods for the fish, which threaten waterways throughout the North Island.

The illegally released fish are now widespread throughout the Waikato and damaging streams by their feeding methods, which cause muddy water.

In collaboration with the Department of Conservation a series of information signs have been installed at major boat ramps and lake access points. The signs provide contact information and how to avoid spreading the pest.

An Environment Waikato staff member is travelling to Australia with QEII Trust funding next month to look at control programmes there. A grant has been provided to a University of Waikato research programme looking into populations of koi in the Waikato and Waihou rivers before more work is done on control methods, he said.

“We don’t know much about the biology of wild koi. They are prized in Europe and Asia and there is information about feeding and growing them, but we know little about them in the wild. So far we know there are distinct populations which don’t appear to mix.”

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