September 28, 2023
Okataina boat ban to keep out golden pest
Boats are being banned from Lake Okataina as Te Arawa hapu and iwi are being warned to act now to stop golden clams from colonising Rotorua’s waterways.
The invasive species is already in the Waikato River, and it can spread itself by attaching to boats, fishing gear and even kids toys.
Ruakiri Fairhall from Ngāti Tarāwhai Iwi Trust, says the trust is talking to biosecurity officials in the Ministry of Primary Industries about an action plan to keep it out of Lake Okataina.
That means monitoring all visitors to the lake, which has only one road in, and banning boats.
“It’s really making sure that we’re free and frank with everybody – and that they understand this is just a protection mechanism at this stage. How long will it be on for? Not too sure,” he says.
Mr Fairhall says their Waikato whanau have told them not to wait until the pest actually arrives before because that would be too late.
The freshwater gold clam was discovered along a stretch of the Waikato River in May 2023. The clam is native to eastern Asia and is widely established in North and South America and Europe.
The clams reproduce rapidly and form large populations that can clog water-based infrastructure such as electricity generation plants, irrigation systems, and water treatment plants. They are filter feeders that can potentially compete with native species for food.