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This species is usually found in the lower ends of larger rivers and is not known to traverse cascades and falls, such as in the gorge.
Inanga, banded kokopu and koaro (Galaxias maculatus, G. fasciatus and G. brevipinnis respectively) are all adults of the whitebait species. Inanga tend to inhabit slow moving streams, wetlands and lakes in lowland areas, or occasionally the margins of larger rivers such as the lower site of the Parapara, while banded kokopu usually inhabit slow flowing streams with ample cover, often in forested areas. Neither of these two species were very common in the lower river, presumably due to a lack of suitable habitat. Inanga are not particularly capable of swimming past barriers or fast flowing water, so would not be expected far upstream in the Parapara. Banded kokopu also has little suitable habitat upstream in the Parapara, due to the steep catchment, although has been noted to traverse steep sections of river in search of suitable habitat. Koaro were found in faster flowing water in the lower river, although were not as abundant there as in the upper river.
Only a single short-finned eel was detected in the lower river, once again due to largely unsuitable habitat for this species, while long-finned eels were common. Shrimps were very abundant in the lower river, reflecting the proximity to the sea. They are undoubtedly an important food source for the fish in the lower river. Department of Conservation staff have also reported yellow-eyed mullet from observations in the lower Parapara River. This species does not usually venture far upstream above the estuary. Lamprey have also been reported. There is some suitable habitat for adult lamprey to spawn in tributaries of the Parapara, although the gorge is not likely to be suitable for lamprey spawning. Low numbers of koura were also found in suitable pools along the margins of the lower river.
Other species that were not detected which might have been present include shortjaw kokopu (Galaxias postvectis) and common bully (Gobiomorphus cotidianus). The timing of this survey in mid winter, with moderately high river flows and cold water may have affected the likelihood of capturing or surveying certain fish species. The Department of Conservation undertook a detailed survey looking for shortjaw kokopu in Golden Bay in 1999, including the lower Parapara River. This survey found populations of shortjaw kokopu in nearby river catchments, but none in the Parapara. This survey also failed to find short jaw kokopu, but it is possible they might be present in low numbers. If they were present, it is unlikely they would venture far upstream of the Glengyle Stream catchment, due to the steep gorge-like nature of the river. Common bully, despite the name, are not common in Golden Bay, so their absence in this area is not surprising.
Fish Community Significance
Of the native fish species detected in the survey, none are regarded by the Department of Conservation as endangered, although koaro and banded kokopu have been regarded as threatened. The lack of suitable habitat for banded kokopu in the catchment suggests their use of the Parapara is marginal in comparison with nearby streams such as Washbourne Creek, in which banded kokopu are abundant. Koaro, however, are common throughout the Parapara system, particularly in the upper river above the gorge and dam. The climbing ability of koaro undoubtedly enables their access through the Parapara River gorge to above the dam, where they are able to leave other species
Fish & Game New Zealand Nelson Marlborough Region Sports Fish and Game Bird Management ...p 9
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