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Cannons Creek students help native fish in Bothamley Park

News - Safe fish passage

Above: Brandon Intermediate students Mayala Parau, Jak Ruatapu and Marley Fretton help install a fish ‘ladder’ in Kenepuru Stream.

Cannons Creek students from Brandon Intermediate are helping young whitebait in Bothamley Park grow to maturity and flourish.

Spring marks the annual run of whitebait species back into rivers across New Zealand, but instead of trying to catch a feed, these Porirua students are out helping migrating native fish get upstream - ensuring some of the juveniles can make their journey to adulthood. 

Young whitebait will swim upstream, but pipes and other blockages, known as fish passage barriers, can stop the fish making their way to good habitats.

Mayala Parau, Jak Ruatapu and Marley Fretton worked with fish passage experts Tim Olley and Kelly Hughes, to install spat ropes, baffles and ramps to help the fish wiggle and climb to make their way up the Kenepuru Stream in Bothamley Park.  

The Bothamley Park restoration project is being led by Porirua City Council and Deputy Mayor Izzy Ford says it’s great to see local students involved.

“We live in an urban area and sometimes infrastructure like bridges and pipes pose challenges for our natural habitat.  If we can get the fish up these little minor barriers we open up huge areas for the fish to breed and make it easier for species to exist and provide more habitats for them to access.”

Five sites feeding into or within Kenepuru Stream have had modifications done to make it easier for fish to get through. 

Clr Ford says Brandon Intermediate students gave a presentation to the Council last month about their concerns for Cannons Creek Lake, and how they wanted to turn it into a Tuna (eel) sanctuary. “So this project seemed a great opportunity to get the students involved,” Clr Ford said.

Brandon Intermediate student Mayala Parau said he enjoyed learning about the whitebait during an education programme with Healthy Harbours Porirua and it was now about putting their ideas into action with experts. “It’s cool to learn how to help fish move up and down the stream by installing ramps with mussel rope to help them climb. There are actually five species of whitebait and some of them are threatened. The works at Bothamley Park will help some of them get to a safe place to grow up.”

25 Sep 2017