Since a live catfish was discovered in Lake Rotoiti in March, our Biosecurity team have been surveying the lake, deploying fyke nets, electric boat fishing, undertaking ongoing research and coming up with ideas with the aim of eradicating catfish.
One of the actions to target catfish is to contain them in Te Weta Bay by installing a cordon at the entrance of the bay. The design of the cordon will include a small channel constructed in the middle of the net to allow all boat traffic to navigate in and out of Te Weta Bay.
Initially the installation of the catfish cordon was scheduled for 31 October. Further netting, to determine whether the population of catfish was still confined to Te Weta Bay, found catfish in low numbers in Okere Arm (2), Otaramarae (1) and near Maraetai Point (2) (southern side of the lake, east of Tumoana Bay) and a decision has been made that installation of the cordon will be delayed until 2017. We will be taking a break over the holiday period and continue to monitor the area in the new year through to autumn, when we expect catch rates to be at their highest, to confirm whether putting in the cordon is still a good option.
As shown in the picture, a number of ripe catfish (ready to spawn) were caught and found near reeds. We will investigate whether this is a preferred spawning habitat to be able to target the spawning population. This will also help inform the science programme that will be kicking off shortly.
To keep up to date with what we are doing to manage catfish visit www.rotorualakes.co.nz/latest-news