Socio-economic drivers of freshwater fish declines in a changing climate: a New Zealand perspective


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New Zealand has a freshwater fish fauna characterized by high levels of national and local endemism and which is threatened by anthropogenic stressors including habitat destruction or deterioration, commercial harvest, pollution and interactions with invasive exotic species. Significant expansion of New Zealand's dairy production has recently created further deterioration of lowland water quality and greater pressure for water allocation in drier eastern regions of the South Island. New Zealand has large freshwater resources and its climate is predicted to experience less dramatic changes in mean annual temperature and precipitation than many other regions of the world as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Predicted changes in regional climate and further expansion of the dairy industry, however, will impose similar pressures on freshwater resources in northern New Zealand to those already acting to threaten freshwater biodiversity in the eastern South Island.