A rudd, dubbed the 'possum of the waterways'. Photo
The Department of Conservation is gravely concerned about
the discovery of a noxious pest fish in a West Coast lake.
The Department and Fish and Game has been investigating the
incursion of the pest fish rudd into Lake Ianthe/Matahi after
an orange fish weighing about 1kg was caught by an angler
last week in the lake and later confirmed as a rudd.
Netting surveys over the past two days, confirmed the
presence of both juvenile and adult fish.
''Rudd are known as `the possums of the waterways','' Doc
area manager Wayne Costello said.
''Their introduction had the potential to damage our lakes in
the same way that possums and stoats have damaged our
The mature fish feed on endangered freshwater plants and
invertebrates, destroy food sources and shelter for existing
species, and damage water quality.
''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.''
Mr Costello said there were positive steps the public could
take 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 and 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.