Trip downstream for trout improves odds for tiny native species

Tiny native fish that live in remote streams in the Mackenzie Basin were given better odds for survival recently thanks to a three-day joint operation to relocate their major predators – hungry trout.

More than 500 rainbow and brown trout were safely caught and moved downstream below special fish barriers during a multi-agency effort in the tributaries leading to Fork Stream. This gives the vulnerable galaxiid species - which rarely grow bigger than 80mm in length – a safer habitat to thrive within.

A team from Environment Canterbury, Department of Conservation and the NZ Defence Force worked together to carefully net the trout and move them further downstream, away from bignose and longjaw Waitaki galaxias – which are only found in the Mackenzie Basin.

The Upper Waitaki Water Zone Committee has supported many projects to protect native fish in the Mackenzie Basin, including $12,000 of funding towards fish barriers at Fork Stream.

Helping our tiny native fish