From 11-13 April 2022, we were privileged to have Richard Allibone from Water Ways Consulting, who facilitated the three days of electrofishing and taught our tauira some amazing new skills.
The tauira started their mornings at O Te Ika Rama Marae participating in fish ID training, followed by investigating waterways in the area, and allowing them to learn how to use and manage the electrofishing equipment. They learnt how to adjust and set the voltage for the equipment and then they were ready to go!
According to Raniera Smyth and Kaloni Taylor the safest way to use the specialised equipment is for the person in charge to ensure they are aware of where everyone is situated before using it, and to call out fishing before operating the equipment to allow others to move to a safe distance and out of the vicinity of water where the equipment will be used.
On Tuesday, the tauira went to a little island above the Mataura River falls and to Gore, where they continued to investigate below the bridge. While here, they caught two juvenile kanakana (ammocoetes) ready for migration out to sea where they would lay their eggs, which explains why they are a beautiful bright blue colour. As Sentre Harden pointed out, when they come back to freshwater if they settle in dirty or muddy parts of the river, this can cause them to change from blue to brown. Also, on the same day a Torrentfish which is quite rare and can usually be found in rapids or fast flowing waters, was caught by two lucky tauira, Sentre and Kaloni.
Wednesday saw all parties go out to Waikawa for coastal electrofishing. This is where the tauira encountered numerous, smaller, shallow streams where they investigated and found mainly Redfin Bullies and Banded Kōkopu, which is found in the Catlins.
Raniera learnt that if you do not use the equipment correctly in terms of Cockabullies it can cause them to get a black strip across their back if left in the water for too long. Rogan Marsh explained that the longest the electro equipment can be left in the water, is five seconds, followed by a three second break and then a finally five seconds while moving the electro current into different sections of the water.
While Raniera continued to explain that one person will electroshock the water and another person will move behind this person with a small net, moving fish in a sweeping motion to another person who is behind with a larger net, who lifts and collects the fish for investigation into buckets. Once fish were moved to the bucket Kaloni Taylor said that the fish became aware and would move around normally.
Concluding the three-day event, the tauira were accredited with a certificate for completing their three-day training.
A huge congratulations to all tauira and supporting parties for another big accomplishment, onward and upward!