In April, 2011, Te Manawa museum in Palmerston North opened a new exhibit showcasing some of the flora and fauna that live in and around the local Manawatu river. Animals on display include cave weta, brown mudfish, frogs and a variety of other native fish housed in a 5000L aquarium.
Te Manawa is located at 326 Main Street, Palmerston North, and is open 10am - 5pm daily. Admission is FREE!
Did you know that whitebait fritters are actually made up of lots of tiny little fish that eventually grow up to be much bigger fish like those in our native tank? Those tiny little fish are called fry and they travel from the sea up our rivers and often into the net of a whitebait fisher. If they aren’t caught, those fry grow up to be a variety of fish in the Galaxias genus, but they are better known to most people as kokopu and inanga.
Giant kokopu (Scarface). Photo: Angela Fox
This giant kokopu is one of those species threatened by over-harvesting. There is increased pressure on all of the whitebait species, with four of the five species considered threatened by the Department of Conservation. Scientists like Mike Joy, a local fish expert from Massey, and anyone passionate about conservation are calling for tighter regulations around whitebait fishing in order to prevent overfishing and the possible collapse of these unique fish.