Koi carp are in the sights of bowhunters as authorities try to control the overgrown goldfish in waterways.

The noxious carp stir up mud while digging around for food, dislodging plants and degrading natural habitats. Auckland Council staff wanting to clear Western Springs of koi carp say bowhunting is the preferred method.

New Zealand Bow Hunters' Society president Graeme Warrender said Auckland bowhunters would probably be keen to help out. "You have to stalk them, you have to quiet and stealthful."

He said bowmen would tether string to the arrows, so if they missed the target they'd be able to retrieve the projectile.


Carp are rife in the lower Waikato River where the society's members have honed their skills. During the Huntly-based World Carp Classic in 2004, society members shot 3278 carp weighing a total of 8619kg. The society's record for the biggest was 14.44kg, caught in the Waihau River near Paeroa.

Warrender said the oily fish could be minced up for snapper berley. "People have taken them to eat but said they're so oily, you wouldn't believe it. A friend tried to smoke one and it actually caught fire."

Dawn Metcalfe, 56, said she and husband Allan, 62, would be keen to join the hunt. "There's a lot of feel-good factor in term of eliminating them and raising awareness of koi as a pest fish."

Auckland Council parks manager Jane Aickin said: "We are seeking advice from our colleagues in council's biosecurity and biosecurity areas and will then talk to the local board about our options."