Farmers called on to build wetlands as unique ecosystem enters steep decline

Posted 04/02/2019

TV1 News website

To many, they're just duck hunting ponds, but for several environmental groups, the importance of wetlands in New Zealand is of growing concern.

The unique ecosystem is home to several threatened species, including dozens of native shortfin and longfin eels.

Despite its strong numbers, the Department of Conservation (DOC) says the longfin eel is a threatened species, leading Fish and Game to call on farmers to build new wetlands.

Fish and Game field officer Cohen Stewart said, "We help them with the surveying and the design of the wetland. We also offer a pond subsidy as well to help them cover the cost of the construction of wetland, and we also offer native plants as well".

Farmers will also be allowed to use the wetlands for one of their hobbies - duck hunting.

"These farmers are often enthusiastic duck hunters, so that can be their primary focus for putting these ponds in," Mr Stewart said.

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