May 30, 2023
Cockle could spread korowai of nastiness
The discovery of the golden Asian clam in the Waikato River has hapu and iwi fearing the worst for native flora and fauna.
The tiny cockle is considered highly invasive and dangerous, with the United States fighting a billion-dollar-a-year losing battle against the pest.
There’s a fear it will get into the water intakes and cooling systems of the river’s eight hydro power stations.
Endangered Species Foundation chair Stuart Muir says so far it’s only been discovered near Lake Karapiro, but its spat could have already been carried down the river to Port Waikato.
“One of the main problems with them is they breed so prolifically. One shell can have 400 spat a day and up to 70,000 a year. They will cloak the bottom of the river in a korowai of nastiness,” he says.
Mr Muir says he’s not optimistic about the chances of controlling the clam, but agencies like fish & game and the ministry for primary industries are working with iwi and hapu to try to come up with radical thinking on how to stop it spreading.