Rare fish hunt leads to community effort
Central Otago’s rare native fish are usually destined to be fried up in a whitebait pattie. But some Central Otago school pupils and landowners are discovering there is a lot more to the precious galaxiid freshwater fish. The Department of Conservation has teamed up with schools, landowners and businesses in the region on its Growing Otago’s Galaxiid (GOG) project being co-ordinated by the department’s freshwater ecologist Lan Pham. ‘‘We are asking people what they want to do about protecting their local galaxiid species. ‘‘As freshwater resources come under increasing pressure, it’s a high priority for us to raise the profile of these fish,’’ Ms Pham said. Two Ranfurly schools, Maniototo Area and St John’s schools are part of the project. In a meet-the-galaxiid day in the Little Kyeburn earlier this month students found Central Otago roundheads and stream invertebrates. To find the fish Ms Pham used the electric fishing method, putting an electric current into the water temporarily stunning the fish, allowing them to be caught then released. ‘‘The parents and teacher were loving it just as much as the kids, if not more,’’ she said. Central Otago landowners also met Ms Pham to search for roundhead galaxiids.
Gone fishing: Department of Conservation freshwater ecologist Lan Pham and St John’s School pupils on a galaxiid hunt.