Don’t spread freshwater pests this hunting season
With the hunting season opening this Saturday 23rd May, Environment Southland and Biosecurity New Zealand are reminding duck shooters to do their bit to avoid spreading damaging freshwater pests.
Environment Southland biosecurity team leader Randall Milne says it’s important hunters ensure boots, waders and other gear is free of pests as they travel through Southland’s waterways.
“A single drop of water can spread pests like didymo, so it’s essential hunters check, clean and dry their equipment between every waterway.”
It’s especially important to follow this if you’re having mates from the North Island around for duck shooting, as didymo has not made it there yet.
Randall says it doesn’t take that much effort to check, clean and dry, and it can make a world of difference to helping protect Southland’s freshwater resources.
“It’s extremely difficult and costly to get rid of aquatic pests once they are established, so a little effort by everyone using our waterways goes a long way to protecting them for future generations.”
People should also be on the lookout for new potential pests and Randall suggests if people notice a strange plant in the pond where they’re shooting, they should take a photo and send it through to Environment Southland.
“We can help get plants identified, and this is another way we can make sure we haven’t got any new freshwater weeds establishing in the region. We know some freshwater weeds are already in Southland, but it would be great if people tell us so we know if they are spreading to other areas.
“The big one for down here is oxygen weed. We know that it’s in a few locations in Southland, but it’s got the potential to be in other ponds which we haven’t heard about. It can affect people’s duck shooting if it gets established and takes over ponds.”
The Southland Pest Hub website has photos of freshwater pests, so you can check whether the plant you’re seeing shouldn’t be in Southland. Visit www.pesthub.es.govt.nz.
For more information about didymo and other freshwater pests go to www.mpi.govt.nz/check-clean-dry.