Conservation status of New Zealand freshwater fish, 2009

  • Allibone R
  • David B
  • Hitchmough R
 et al. 
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Abstract

The threat status of 74 freshwater and estuarine fish present in New Zealand was determined. Fifty-one native taxa were ranked of which 67% were considered Threatened or At Risk. A single species was classified as Extinct, the New Zealand grayling, which has not been observed since the 1920s. Four taxa were classified in the highest threat category, Nationally Critical, and a further 10 taxa as Threatened (Nationally Endangered or Nationally Vulnerable). Twenty taxa were ranked in the At Risk group with the majority ranked as Declining. Endemic galaxiids (Galaxiidae) dominated the Threatened and At Risk taxa. The majority (68%) belonged to the Galaxias genus, comprising 81% of recognised taxa in this genus and all five species in the genus Neochanna were also ranked as Threatened or At Risk. In addition to 51 native taxa, a further three fish species were considered colonists and 20 introduced species were classified as naturalised, although two of these are considered rare. The majority of the Threatened species occur in the Canterbury and Otago regions where a suite of rare non-migratory galaxiids exist. Threat mechanisms that were identified as causal in the decline of freshwater fish species were the impact of introduced fish species, declining water quality, effects of water abstraction, loss of habitat via land-use change and land-use activities, and river modifications.

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Authors

  • R M Allibone

  • B O David

  • R Hitchmough

  • D J Jellyman

  • N Ling

  • P Ravenscroft

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