Eel deaths baf­fle the coun­cil

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil in­ves­ti­ga­tors are ap­peal­ing for help in es­tab­lish­ing what has killed hundreds of eels in the head­wa­ters of the Pi­ako River near Rich­mond Downs at Wal­ton.

The coun­cil was alerted to the deaths by a farmer early last week but in­for­ma­tion gath­ered from peo­ple sug­gests the deaths prob­a­bly oc­curred late the pre­vi­ous week.

‘‘All of the farm­ers our in­ves­ti­ga­tion staff have spo­ken to are pretty gut­ted about the num­ber of dead eels. But de­spite in­spect­ing all of the prop­er­ties around the area, we are still at a loss to ex­plain what caused the deaths,’’ said com­pli­ance and ed­u­ca­tion man­ager Rob Dragten.

‘‘We have been un­able to find any sign of con­tam­i­nants en­ter­ing the wa­ter­way that could ex­plain this,’’ Mr Dragten said.

Coun­cil staff sus­pect that a toxic chem­i­cal of some sort has been dis­charged as eels are pretty hardy and usu­ally will swim away down­stream from most pol­lu­tion spills.

‘‘We are very keen to get in­for­ma­tion from peo­ple that might help us un­der­stand why these eels have died as it in­di­cates a sig­nif­i­cant water qual­ity prob­lem,’’ Mr Dragten said.

‘‘We are ap­peal­ing for any­one with any in­for­ma­tion to con­tact the in­ves­ti­ga­tions team on 0800 800 401.’’

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