Today’s announcement by Biosecurity NZ that Waikato River is home to the invasive Freshwater Gold Clam is a huge disappointment and will likely draw a strong reaction from Marae along the length and breadth of our tupuna awa.
That is the reaction from Waikato-Tainui Chair Tukoroirangi Morgan this morning as the iwi contemplates how it responds to this latest incursion.
To say I am mortified is an understatement said Mr Morgan, “more needs to be done to protect our fragile ecosystem against all introduced pests that find themselves in our waterways.”
“We have recently worked with Mana whenua to place a rahui on the Whangamarino wetlands because rising toxicity associated with algae growth and now combined with this latest issue, we are simply at our wits end.
“When Lady Raiha and I negotiated the River Settlement, the health and well-being and ongoing maintenance of our tupuna awa was one of our main priorities hence the establishment of Waikato River Authority.
“It is clear to me that its resources were never designed to meet the ongoing demand of a myriad of new issues and so we will be advocating for more resourcing from central government to help eradicate or at least control the spread of this highly invasive species,” said Mr Morgan.
It remains unknown how the clam was introduced into the ecosystem however the immediate priority is to identify just how widely spread it is. However, it is a native of Asia and has spread to many countries across the world.
“We have committed to work with Biosecurity NZ and our Iwi partners to find a way forward that is consistent with our obligations that are outlined in Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato.” says Mr Morgan.
Jason Ake (027 201 0061)