Taupō fishery staff recently made the trip to a Katakati stream to collect Torrentfish (Cheimarrichthys fosteri) for the
GenesisFreshwater Aquarium at the
Tongariro National Trout Centre. The aquarium provides a rare opportunity to see NZ native fish displayed in a natural setting, where the emphasis is on fish welfare and community education.
As the name suggests, Torrent fish live in fast flowing rocky rivers, which can make them difficult to catch. They are most active at night, preferring to hide under rocks or bury themselves in gravel during the day.
Electrofishing is the most effective way to collect them. This technique uses a carefully calibrated electric current to temporarily stun the fish, allowing them to gently wash downstream into a waiting net. This collection approach is far less destructive to both fish and environment than alternative methods which involve physically turning over rocks and chasing fish with a net.
Torrentfish are a unique species, most closely related to the Blue Cod. They use their large pectoral fins to hold themselves down in fast-flowing water, where they hunt for aquatic insects among the rocks.
The team also collected several Redfin Bullies, which are arguably our most colourful native fish species. The bullies prefer slower flowing parts of the same rivers. Both Torrentfish and Redfin Bullies will go on display at the aquarium once they’ve completed their 1-month quarantine period.
The next time you take a fishing trip to Turangi, why not stop off at the Tongariro National Trout Centre and check out the aquarium.