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Source: New Zealand Government

A joint Government and Tasman District Council project is investing to bring more freshwater fish to the Tasman region, protect local waterways and employ local people.

Environment Minister David Parker said the five-year $2 million Tasman Fish Passage project will see more than 4,000 in-stream structures assessed, with around 1,500 being restored for fish passage – including culverts, weirs, dams, and water intakes that migratory fish cannot climb or swim over.

“Restoring these in-stream structures allows fish to access their habitats to spawn and so sustain their populations. The increasing abundance and diversity of fish in our streams will also help bird species that feed mainly on freshwater fish – many of which are also threatened,” David Parker said.

“The Tasman Fish Passage project is also expected to create 17 new jobs, with a focus on growing local skills.”

Funding is being provided from the Government’s Jobs for Nature initiative, the Ministry for the Environment’s Freshwater Improvement Fund and the Tasman District Council.

Tasman District Council Senior Resource Scientist Trevor James said this funding will increase the rate and the scale of activity by over 20 times.

Archdeacon Harvey Ruru of the Tasman District Council said: “The funding will make a huge difference to help our te taiao – our environment – and the little fish that can’t speak for themselves.”

The remediation project also intends to improve local freshwater knowledge and foster kaitiakitanga through iwi-led education events and Mātuaranga Māori monitoring.

“One of our top priorities going forward, is for our rangatahi to understand the migrations of fish,” Ngāti Apa ki te Rā Tō spokesperson Aaron Hemi said.

“We have to look after our environment in order to have something for tomorrow.”

Jobs for Nature is a Government initiative creating nature-based jobs to benefit our environment and improve the skills of our people while accelerating the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.