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Hunter first to see endangered fish spawn

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 13/07/2016

A Waiheke Island pig hunter has become the first recorded person to see New Zealand's most endangered native fish getting intimate.

The man was heard "plenty of commotion in the wetland", but got the surprise of his life when instead of pigs, he came across two spawning giant kokopu, Auckland Council's Matthew Bloxham says.

The two "strangely-patterned fish" had their backs out of the water and were pushing into the vegetation in the Awaawaroa wetland when the hunter discovered them.

"To have a witness to the giant kokopu spawning is extraordinary," Mr Bloxham said.

"Finding the eggs was just the icing on the cake because that means we have an exact location that we can protect."

A buffer zone around the spawning area is now planned and it will be protected by predator control.

Giant kokopu eggs were only found for the first time in 2012, and this was the first recorded spawning observation in the wild.

They are one of five species of whitebait found in the region. Some of the largest specimens recorded were 58cm long and weighed 2.7kg.

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