Don't Spread Unwanted Freshwater Pests This Whitebait Season
13 August 2012
With whitebait season starting on Wednesday 15 August, the Ministry for Primary Industries is reminding whitebaiters to Check, Clean and Dry their equipment between waterways to avoid the spread of unwanted freshwater pests that can clog nets and choke waterways, including whitebait habitats.
“Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo and lagarosiphon pose a serious threat to our rivers, streams and lakes. Once in a waterway they can disperse rapidly and destroy the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of our waterways,” says John Sanson, National Coordination Team Manager.
“Restricting your whitebaiting to one catchment only is the best way to stop the spread of unwanted pests. However, if you are going to be moving between waterways we ask you to Check, Clean, Dry any equipment that has come into contact with river or lake water – particularly nets and waders.”
“Some freshwater pests, like didymo, are often invisible to the naked eye and can be spread by a single drop of water. Treat every waterway as though it is infected – even if you can’t see the danger you could be spreading it.”
Mr Sanson says before leaving a waterway, people should check items and leave any plant debris they find in their equipment at the waterway.
“All equipment should then be cleaned for at least one minute with a five percent solution of biodegradable dishwashing solution. That’s about one tablespoon of detergent per 250ml.”
“Water absorbent materials such as boots and waders require longer soaking times to allow thorough saturation.
“Drying will kill didymo, but even slightly moist items can harbour didymo and other microscopic pests for months. To ensure didymo cells are dead by drying, the item must be completely dry to the touch, inside and out, then left to dry for at least another 48 hours before use,” says Mr Sanson.
“Following these simple procedures will help slow the spread of freshwater pests throughout New Zealand waterways. It’s everyone’s responsibility to try to preserve the environmental integrity of our waterways for generations to come.
“Just remember to Check, Clean, Dry every time you move from one waterway to another, wherever you are in New Zealand.”
For more information about freshwater pests and the Check, Clean, Dry process, visit www.biosecurity.govt.nz/pests/didymo/cleaning .
For more information on whitebaiting regulations and whitebait and other native fish species, visit www.doc.govt.nz .
Senior Adviser Marketing Communications, MPI
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For any questions relating to the whitebait fishery and regulations, contact Jane Goodman, Freshwater Technical Advisor, Department of Conservation, 07 858 1031 or email@example.com.