Media release

ORC investigates fish deaths

Tuesday 13 June 2017

The Otago Regional Council’s environmental officers are investigating what has caused the recent deaths of brown trout in Mill Creek near Arrowtown.

They collected water samples at several points along the creek last week and again today, upstream and downstream of where the dead fish were found several days ago. The samples are being analysed by two laboratories to establish the presence of pesticides or other chemicals and heavy metals, as well as the overall quality of water in the creek and an adjacent wetland. Results from the analysis are expected within a week.

Two of the dead fish have been sent to the Cawthron Institute in Nelson for autopsy, with those results expected in about a fortnight.

ORC Chief Executive Peter Bodeker said his staff in Central Otago were liaising with the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s compliance staff as well as Otago Fish and Game, as they investigated the deaths.

“So far, there is no obvious cause that anyone can point to. There is no construction site nearby and no signs of the sort of land disturbance or other activity that might generate pollutants. We are keeping an open mind about the cause at this stage and not ruling anything in or out. We are very keen to hear from anyone who has noticed any unusual activity along Mill Creek in the Speargrass Flat area.”

Mr Bodeker said that calling the ORC’s 24-hour pollution hotline 0800 800 033 was the easiest way for people to report water quality issues anywhere in Otago.

ORC already monitors water quality in Mill Creek regularly as one of the significant tributaries to Lake Hayes, as well as the lake itself.

For further information contact

Peter Bodeker
Chief Executive
Ph 0800 474082 or 0274 998328