ECOL­OGY BITES

Boating NZ - - Feature -

Did you know that the Pelorus Sound is the heart of the coun­try’s green-lip mus­sel farm­ing in­dus­try – a $200-mil­lion a year busi­ness? Nei­ther did I.

The in­dus­try also in­cludes other species – salmon, oys­ters and paua – and even sea­weed.

Pelorus is also a favourite chill-out spot for cruis­ing whales and five dol­phin species.

But I think Duf­fers’ Reef Rock – in the mid­dle of the Sound – is the odd­est in the Pelorus fauna and flora gallery. It’s home to a colony of king shags, cor­morants who nest and roost here ex­clu­sively – even though there are plenty of other nearby rocks. Why so picky?

This bird is en­dan­gered (there are only about 400 re­main­ing) and is unique in the cor­morant fam­ily in a va­ri­ety of ways: it’s the big­gest, has pink feet, and dives to the great­est depths.

But it needs to de­velop its so­cial skills.

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