Trout fishing season opens tomorrow, with the Bay of Plenty Regional Council urging lake-goers to take care of their gear.
Anglers must ensure they always check, clean and dry their gear before leaving a waterway and moving to a new one to prevent the spread of aquatic pests.
The council's biosecurity manager, Greg Corbett, said all it takes is one person to unwittingly transport a small fragment of weed, a pest fish or its eggs to a new body of water to cause irreversible damage to our lakes.
He said once aquatic pests were established, they were difficult and costly to control, and hard to eradicate.
There are six weed cordons currently in place across the region help to reduce the risk of aquatic pests moving from lake to lake.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council is working in partnership with Te Arawa Lakes Trust to attempt to stop the continued spread of catfish, that were a threat to taonga species and lower water quality.
"Each female catfish has the potential to lay up to 6000 eggs and they can survive out of water for 48 hours, so it's vital that people are thorough in checking, cleaning and drying their gear," Corbett said.
Before leaving any waterway, anglers must remove any weeds from their boat and gear, empty any ballast water and check trailers for any weed, catfish or catfish eggs.
People are urged to not leave their trailers in the water unless loading or unloading their boats.