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Catfish Killas fighting to save New Zealand's native fish by Cleo Fraser September 14,2020   |  Source: newshub

Whiskered introduced species, catfish, have taken over and they're killing New Zealand's native fish species.

Wiremu Anaru and his team from Te Arawa Lake Trusts are on the case - they're known as the Catfish Killas. Since 2016 the group has hauled up about 150,000 catfish from Rotorua and Rotoiti.

Catfish were introduced in the 1870s and they're a problem because they prey on koura or freshwater crayfish, as well as other native fish that are considered threatened.

"Catfish eat all the babies - they just go along the bottom of the lakes and suck them all in," William Anaru told The Hui, while out setting nets on Lake Rotoiti.

The explosion of catfish numbers started when a single fish hitched a ride from the central North Island - a biodiversity mess that could have been avoided had the boat been cleaned.

"They say it came from a boat that had been in Lake Taupo for about three days and a little catfish swam up into the boat trailer and got a ride from Taupo to Rotoiti," Anaru said.

And with that, the cat was literally out of the bag.

Catfish release 6000 eggs each spawning cycle, so one fish quickly becomes a multitude. That's when the iwi, Te Arawa, stepped in.

So big is the task of getting rid of the slimy pests that hundreds of rangatahi (young

Theme(s): Fisheries Resources.

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