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Fish dumping mystery causes a stink

Flagstaff Team

Making a stink… Gutted snapper in the Wairau Stream last week

Repeated illegal dumpings of fish into the Wairau Stream are upsetting Milford residents.

“The smell was so terrible,” said Maxine Jordan, who lives over the road from where the fish have been discarded near the Alma Rd bridge. She first caught a whiff late last month, while pegging out her washing.

She was relieved to see council cleaning up on Friday, 29 October, after someone else had called in to complain.

Two days later, however, more fish frames were spotted in the shallow stream.

Cam Mitchell, whose rental property borders the stream, said visiting friends had told him they saw a man lowering a basket into the water over the weekend.

Due to the sloping banks he could not see the fish from the deck of his home, but had noticed “a murkiness in the water”.

From the bottom of his section, the fish frames are visible. Mitchell has in the past noticed other items dumped into the stream, which runs to the estuary and Milford Beach. This included a car door.

Jordan told the Observer “some people just don’t care”. As well as fish dumping on other occasions in the past, she had spotted people pull up at the bridge and toss rubbish over the side.

The Observer saw seven snapper frames still in the stream early last week. Jordan said more fish had been dumped a few days earlier before it was cleaned up.

A student walking past on the way home from Westlake Girls High School said she had also seen fish left dumped in the stream several months ago.

When initially contacted by the Observer, Auckland Council said it had no record of complaints and that the fish dumping was a matter for the Ministry of Primary Industries (MPI).

MPI later told us dumping of waste was a matter for the council. MPI national manager of fisheries compliance Steve Ham said the filleted snapper in the images we forwarded to the ministry appeared to be of legal size.

“We encourage people to dispose of fish waste sensibly, and it is disappointing to see fish waste being dumped in this manner,” he added.

A council spokesperson said people could report such incidents to its compliance/pollution team. “I’d definitely encourage people to call council and report the incident with as much detail as possible so we can look into this.”

This article originally appeared in the 27 November 2020 edition of the Rangitoto Observer.

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