Pollution hits Clive River flounder

By Roger Moroneyroger moroney@hbtoday co nz

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Jenny Mauger (left) Tom McGuire and Ani McGuire of Kohupatiki Marae are joined by Shane Gimer from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council as another black flounder is measured and tagged. Photos/Warren Buckland.
Jenny Mauger (left) Tom McGuire and Ani McGuire of Kohupatiki Marae are joined by Shane Gimer from the Hawke's Bay Regional Council as another black flounder is measured and tagged. Photos/Warren Buckland.

While detailed results of the first year of a black flounder recovery programme being carried out in the Clive River were still being compiled by fisheries scientists, the man who sparked what will be a 10-year programme has his own initial results from what he has seen so far.

"It's not improving," Tom McGuire from Kohupatiki Marae said yesterday as the second year of the programme got under way.

"It's the water quality - it is going up and down and pollution is still there," he said.

It all came down to what was entering the Clive River in residential and commercial run-offs, Mr McGuire said, and what was going into the river clearly did not agree with the flounder which were once plentiful.

Only 25 years ago, he said, the number of flounder which could be caught out the back of the marae was "huge".

Now they were lucky to get one or two, and those one or two which people did occasionally catch were not right.

"Funny taste," was how he put it.

The programme, which has the support of Hawke's Bay Regional Council, Fish and Game and the Department of Conservation had also been embraced by the marae and local schools, which Mr McGuire was especially pleased about as it was something everyone could learn from and try to do something about.

It involves catching and measuring flounder, which are then tagged and released to try to build up a picture of their movements and numbers.

The water quality had sent many fish further up river, he believed, and in the long-term plan the groups will monitor and tag flounder in the Tukituki and Ngaruroro rivers, and at sea.

While the numbers and quality had slumped he was optimistic for the future.

"I reckon we can do something about it," he said, adding that preliminary plans for a long-term recovery process had already been put together.

Mr McGuire said it was important a full and detailed idea of fish movements and numbers across the region was obtained as it was vital for the resource, and for the future.

"This is a 10-year project - there is a lot we have to do."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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