With the hunting season opening this Saturday 23rd May, Te Arawa Lakes Trust and Biosecurity New Zealand are reminding duck shooters to do their bit to avoid spreading damaging freshwater pests.

“Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo, lake snow, and hornwort are serious threats to the life of our incredible rivers, streams and lakes. Once lake snow gets into a waterway, it can take hold rapidly and form sticky, thick slime. Pest plants like hornwort smother and suffocate aquatic life. These freshwater pest species can have major impacts on waterways and affect the freshwater sports and activities that are so important to us as New Zealanders,” says Biosecurity New Zealand

Duck hunters who shoot from spots on different waterways need to be extra vigilant.

“Check, Clean, Dry all equipment that makes contact with the river or lake water – especially decoys, and boots and waders. Some freshwater pests, including didymo and lake snow, are microscopic algae and if equipment is not properly cleaned at the end of the day, they can survive long enough to infect another waterway the next time you go out.”

Before leaving a waterway, hunters should check their gear and remove any visible weed or debris.

To be sure of killing any algae spores, clean equipment by scrubbing it for at least one minute in water mixed with five percent dishwashing liquid – that’s one teaspoon for every 250ml of water.

Water absorbent materials, such as boots, will need a longer soak to be sure that the detergent can fully penetrate and kill any spores.

Allowing gear to fully dry also protects against the spread of algae. Didymo and other microscopic algae can survive on lightly moist items for months – gear should not be used until at least 48 hours after they feel completely dry.

“I know that hunters are especially keen to get out to their favourite spots for a shoot. This year, more than ever, we are all aware of appreciating and protecting what we’ve got, and keeping our waterways healthy for future generations is part of that.”

For more information about didymo and freshwater pests go to: