, Volume 583, Issue 1, pp 345–358 | Cite as

Exotic fish introductions and the decline of water clarity in small North Island, New Zealand lakes: a multi-species problem

Primary Research Paper


Changes in water clarity (secchi disc transparency) in relation to the presence/absence of introduced, exotic fish, including rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus), tench (Tinca tinca), perch (Perca fluviatilis), brown bullhead catfish (Ameiurus nebulosus), goldfish (Carassius auratus), and koi carp (Cyprinus carpio) were determined for 49 small, North Island, New Zealand lakes. There was a negative association between water clarity and the presence of exotic fish independent of lake depth. Moreover, a ‘before-and-after’ comparison and examination of case-studies indicated that introductions of exotic fish reduce water clarity. The number of species introduced affected the relationship between lake depth and water clarity but the specific role of each species could not be distinguished because most of the lakes (83%) contained more than one exotic fish species. A model incorporating the known mechanisms by which planktivorous, benthivorous and herbivorous fish can influence water clarity in lakes showed that control over just one species or feeding guild may not result in an improvement in water clarity because of the additive and synergistic effects of different species on lake trophic processes.


Secchi Lake depth Eutrophication Feeding guilds Turbidity Lake restoration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Water & Atmospheric Research Ltd.HamiltonNew Zealand

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