Control of macrophytes by grass carp (ctenopharyngodon idella) in a Waikato drain, New Zealand
Wells, R.D.S., Bannon, H.J. & Hicks, B.J. (2003). Control of macrophytes by grass carp (ctenopharyngodon idella) in a Waikato drain, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37, 85-93.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/1565
Hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum L.) and other aquatic macrophytes have historically been mechanically removed from the Rangiriri drain and Churchill East drain to maintain drain efficiency. As an alternative control method for the high plant biomass that accumulates at the end of summer, the effect of stocking diploid grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella L.) on the aquatic vegetation was evaluated in these Waikato drainage systems. At the start of the trial, both drains had a low diversity of aquatic macrophytes, and of the nine species (including the emergents), seven were exotic. Two months after grass carp were released to Churchill East drain (the treated drain) the four submerged and floating macrophyte species became scarce in the main drain. Over the same period, these species increased in biomass in Rangiriri drain (the untreated drain), where hornwort became dense and surface-reaching and remained so for the duration of the trial. However, grass carp did not control submerged vegetation in smaller side drains or the shallow, upper parts of the main drain, or the marginal sprawling species and emergent species. The cost of leasing the grass carp was similar to the cost of clearing the drains mechanically, but grass carp provided continuous weed control. However, subsequent to this trial, 62 dead grass carp were found in Churchill East drain in February 2001, and weed cover subsequently increased. This illustrates that grass carp management in New Zealand agricultural drains can be problematic due to periodic fish kills.
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Copyright New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 2003. Used with permission.