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Published: 2014-05-02 00:00:00

With the roar underway and game season opening on Saturday 3 May, Waikato Regional Council and the Ministry for Primary Industries are reminding hunters and duck shooters in the Waikato of the importance of cleaning their equipment between waterways to avoid the spread of unwanted freshwater pests.

“Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo, hornwort, and lagarosiphon continue to pose a serious threat to our rivers, streams and lakes. Once in a waterway they can disperse rapidly causing large economic impacts and destroying the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of our waterways,” said council biosecurity group manager John Simmons.

“We still have a chance to stop the spread of these invasive pests. To date there have been no positive confirmations of didymo in the North Island, and the freshwater weed hornwort, which is wide spread throughout the North Island, has recently been eradicated in the South Island.

“We are asking hunters moving between waterways to ‘Check, Clean, Dry’ any equipment that has come into contact with river or lake water – particularly boots, decoys, boats and boat trailers.

Some freshwater pests are microscopic and can be spread by a single drop of water. Even if you can’t see the pest you could be spreading it.”

Mr Simmons said before leaving a waterway, people should check items and leave any debris they find at the waterway.

“All items should then be cleaned for at least one minute with a five percent solution of biodegradable dishwashing solution. That’s about one tablespoon of detergent per 250ml.

“Water absorbent materials such as boots require longer soaking times to allow thorough saturation.

“Drying will kill most freshwater pests, but even slightly moist items can harbour microscopic pests for months. To ensure cells are dead by drying, the item must be completely dry to the touch, inside and out, then left dry for at least another 48 hours before use,” said Mr Simmons.

“Following these simple procedures will help stop freshwater pests from spreading throughout New Zealand waterways. It’s everyone’s responsibility to try to protect our waterways for future generations.

“Just remember to ‘Check Clean Dry’ when moving from one waterway to another, anywhere in New Zealand.”

For more information about freshwater pests and the Check, Clean, Dry programme go to www.waikatoregion.govt.nz or visit www.mpi.govt.nz