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Boat electrofishing survey of five Waitakere City ponds

We conducted a fish survey of five ponds (Lake Panorama, Paremuka Pond 1 & 2, Danica Esplanade and Longbush Pond) in the Waitakere District by single-pass boat electrofishing on 18 and 19 of July 2007. We caught 337 fish comprising four introduced and two native fish species in 2.89 km of fished distance from all 5 ponds. Assuming that each of the two bow-mounted anodes caught fish within a 1 m radius, the width fished was 4 m, and the total area fished was 11,537 m² or 1.154 ha. The water temperature for the 5 different ponds ranged between 10.8°C and 14.9°C. In Lake Panorama, shortfinned eel (Anguilla australis) were the most numerous species caught (130 fish ha⁻¹ ), followed by perch (Perca fluviatilis) (100 fish ha⁻¹) and tench (Tinca tinca) (40 fish ha⁻¹). In Paremuka Pond 1, koi carp (Cyprinus carpio) were the most numerous species caught (120 fish ha⁻¹), followed by shortfinned eels (50 fish ha⁻¹). In Paremuka Pond 2, koi carp were again the most numerous species caught (340 fish ha⁻¹), followed by tench (250 fish ha⁻¹) and shortfinned eels (70 fish ha⁻¹). In Danica Esplanade and Longbush Pond, shortfinned eels were the most numerous species caught (140 and 550 fish ha⁻¹respectively), followed by mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis). There was more macrophyte cover around the edges of Danica Esplanade compared to Longbush Pond and this decreased the catch rate as a large number of eels in Danica Esplanade were sighted but were unable to be captured. Koi carp were only caught in the Paremuka ponds. The majority of koi carp were caught on the edges of the lake in macrophytes and rushes. Koi carp biomasses were highest in Paremuka Pond 2 at 261 kg ha⁻¹ compared to 106 kg ha⁻¹ in Paremuka Pond 1. Biomass is a more accurate reflection of the potential ecological impact of koi carp than their density. Previous results suggest that 21-73% of the total population is caught on the first removal, depending on water visibility. As we fished the area at each site only once, the estimates in this survey represent a minimum abundance, and true population sizes are likely to be 1.4-4.8 times greater. The density of eels in both the Paremuka ponds is also likely to be higher as a large proportion of eels were able to escape into the macrophytes before they could be captured in the nets. Mosquitofish were also observed to be living in both the Paremuka ponds. Of ecological concern for the Paremuka ponds is the dominance of the fish biomass by introduced koi carp, which have a deleterious impact on aquatic habitats. Another concern for these ponds is the presence of small koi carp (<200 mm), which suggests that natural spawning is most likely occurring, although recent releases of carp into the ponds in another possibility. The fate of the introduced fish varied depending on what species they were. Perch and tench were released back into the ponds after captures as they are classified as sports fish. Koi carp and mosquitofish are classified as unwanted organisms and were humanely destroyed with an anaesthetic overdose (benzocaine), and retained for further analysis.
Commissioned Report for External Body
Type of thesis
CBER Contract Report
Hicks, B.J., Bell D.G., Brijs, J. & Powrie, W. (2007). Boat electrofishing survey of five Waitakere City ponds. CBER Contract Report No. 64, client report prepared for Boffa Miskell Ltd. Hamilton, New Zealand: Centre for Biodiversity and Ecology Research, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, The University of Waikato.