Disease affecting Southland kanakana/lamprey
7 October 2011
Kanakana, or lamprey, in the Mataura River have become affected by a bacterial disease.
The bacteria is no risk to human health, however we advise people not to eat kanakana or other fish that look unusual or unhealthy.
We have provisionally identified the bacteria as an Aeromonas species and are completing full testing to identify the exact strain and understand its significance. This bacteria has not been identified in New Zealand before. Full results are expected by late October.
We are also stepping up monitoring programmes in Southland and working with Environment Southland, commercial fisheries, recreational and customary fishers of kanakana, and recreational water users to find out if other waterways and fish are affected.
Until more information is confirmed, fishers and river users are reminded to be vigilant to check, clean and dry their equipment and clothing between waterways.
To date, there are no signs the bacteria is affecting other species. It is known to affect salmon, trout, eel, and whitebait and could affect native fish such as kokopu.
Kanakana with the bacteria are likely to have:
- red and/or swollen fins
- red and/or swollen marks that look like bruises or blood clots.
If anyone finds sick or dead kanakana or any other fish with these symptoms, they can phone the MAF hotline (0800 80 99 66) who will advise what to do next, such as collecting them for testing.