[10 September/The Country]

According to research by Victoria University, New Zealand’s fresh water fish species are facing extinction. The study compared land use changes and more than 20,000 freshwater fish records since 1970. The data covered fish distribution, abundance trends, and a key measure of water pollution. It showed more than three quarters of the 25 species analysed were in decline. A similar rate was found in 20 native fish species. The study also found more species were failing around land dominated by pasture compared to other areas. Victoria University’s Mike Joy thought it was bizarre that there was little protection for native fish. He acknowledged an amendment to the Conservation Act which was aimed at freshwater fish, however it only covered protected areas. He thought the issue could only be resolved through addressing wider issues that our rivers, streams and lakes faced.