Duck shooters urged to be cautious around rivers

With the opening of the duck shooting season this weekend, Environment Southland urges duck shooters to be particularly vigilant for toxic algae in rivers, especially with their dogs.

From early this year, a number of Southland rivers have been affected by increased amounts of toxic algae (cyanobacteria), with warnings in place up until last week.

While cyanobacteria levels have dropped with the recent rainfall, there may still be some rivers affected and Environment Southland’s director of science and information, Graham Sevicke-Jones encourages duck shooters to know what to look out for and be extra vigilant with their dogs.

“People and animals, in particular dogs, should avoid contact with cyanobacteria mats, which can accumulate on the sides of rivers,” he said. “Eating just a small amount can be very harmful to dogs.”

Toxic algae usually occur as dark brown/black mats which grow attached to rocks in the river or accumulate on the surface in shallow, slow-flowing areas. They often have a strong, musty smell.

With the exception of the Mataura River at Mataura Island, all warnings have been lifted. “However, Environment Southland’s monitoring does not cover all reaches of all rivers, so extra awareness is needed,” Graham said.

If you experience health symptoms after contact with contaminated water, visit a doctor immediately. Animals that consume cyanobacteria should be taken to a vet immediately.

Page reviewed: 04 May 2016 11:53am