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Wednesday 23 March 2005
Biosecurity New Zealand has destroyed a number of freshwater marron crayfish
and gudgeon fish, following their discovery at a disused service station in West
Auckland and at a pond at South Head Kaipara, Biosecurity New Zealand
Post-Clearance Animal team manager Ron Thornton said today.
Both the marron (Cherax tenuimanus) and the gudgeon (Gobio gobio) fish are
considered to pose a significant threat to native freshwater species and are
classified as unwanted organisms under the Biosecurity Act 1993. The Act states
that no person shall knowingly communicate, cause to be communicated, release,
or cause to be released, or otherwise spread any pest or unwanted organism. Any
offence attracts a penalty of up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to
$100,000 for an individual.
"A member of the public came across a lone marron on the footpath outside the
West Auckland service station. A property inspection revealed more marron and
also gudgeon," Ron Thornton said.
Subsequent investigations revealed a pond at South Head Kaipara containing
more specimens of both species.
"Biosecurity New Zealand, in conjunction with the Department of Conservation
(DoC), Auckland Regional Council (ARC), and the Ministry of Fisheries, has since
eradicated the two species from the pond. The ponds were drained and the gudgeon
and marron were destroyed.
"The investigating team is conducting a delimiting survey of ponds in the
South Head Kaipara area to establish if there are any further populations.
"Biosecurity New Zealand, in collaboration with the DoC and the ARC, is
working to establish if the two pests are widespread and to eradicate them if
"There is a high risk both species could get into our waterways. Gudgeon is
particularly likely to have a seriously impact on small native fish.
"The marron may have originated from a marron farm at Warkworth which was
closed down in 1993 after DoC expressed concerns about the impact these crayfish
could have on native fauna, including the native koura.
All marron on the fish farm at that time were destroyed, but some may have
been removed prior to the then Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries taking over
management of the farm.
"The gudgeon are thought to have been smuggled into New Zealand to provide
bait for coarse fishing enthusiasts.
"We urge members of the public to notify us on 0800 80 99 66 if they discover
any unusual fish or crayfish in ponds in the South Head or Warkworth areas or
"People should contact their local DoC conservancy office for general pest
fish issues," Mr Thornton said.
For further information contact Tina Nixon, Communications Adviser on 0-4-498
9948 or 0-27-223 2789
Marron is a freshwater crayfish native to Australia. They are considered to
be a delicacy.
Gudgeon are a small "baitfish" popular with coarse fishermen in Great
Britain. It is a voracious carnivore.
Coarse fishing is the name given to fishing in still or slow waters for
inferior eating fish. The sport is popular with the young and very old as coarse
fish are easy to catch with bait such as worms and bread. Many species of coarse
fish such as tench, carp and catfish have been in New Zealand for decades but
they are all considered to have a negative impact on our natural environment.
They must not be removed alive from the pond or waterway where they were caught.
DoC has a programme aimed at eradicating coarse fish wherever feasible.