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Health threat posed by Canterbury rivers - Fish and Game NZ


Scientific testing of popular Canterbury fishing and swimming rivers has produced disturbing findings, including the presence of dangerous disease-causing bacteria and antibiotic resistant E. coli.

Fish and Game commissioned the independent testing after anglers raised concerns about the potential risk of infection they were running due to river pollution and the increasing number of dairy cows in Canterbury.

The tests samples were collected from the Ashley, Selwyn and Rangitata rivers in May and September and tested by Massey University’s Institute of Agriculture and Environment.

The findings show the presence of E. coli, antibiotic resistant E. coli and a dangerous strain of bacteria called shiga toxin-producing E. coli or STEC. Read more