A passion for galaxiids
Ash Rabel is WAI Wānaka’s resident scientist, with a passion for galaxiids and protecting Aotearoa’s habitats on land and especially water. Ash explains how WAI Wānaka have been dedicating their time to protecting these often-overlooked habitats.
Ash works part time for WAI Wānaka and goes out monitoring stream health, indigenous biodiversity, and water quality. In his own time Ash even volunteers to build the barriers which help protect non-migratory galaxiids from in-stream predators.
Ash and the WAI Wānaka team are aiming to increase galaxiid populations in Aotearoa’s waters to help boost native biodiversity. They are doing this by engaging with other agencies to understand, protect, and enhance current populations of our native fish species.
Originally after graduating he went down a different career path but found his way back to his passion for the environment that he developed through his studies at the University of Canterbury.
He spoke of the protection which Aotearoa’s government have for introduced fish species, and how few they have for native species. Through WAI Wānaka and raising awareness for these species, Ash discussed the possibility of a national change in attitude leading to government policies that would help protect Aotearoa’s native fish.
The WAI Wānaka team and Ash have been working alongside DoC, Otago Regional Council, and Fish & Game in order to make progress as rapidly as possible in the field and on paper. This large network allows them to study the variations across Aotearoa and learn as much as possible about galaxiids and their various species.
Ash has gone out of his way to find ways to encourage others to get involved in stream preservation and environmental consciousness. His way of communicating and ability to include all audiences and levels of knowledge, strongly supports those who wish to learn more about Aotearoa and the native water life.
- Non-migratory galaxiids (Department of Conservation)
- Quick Guide to NZ Galaxiidae (NIWA)
- Fish Futures
- UC Freshwater Ecology Research Group