Coote’s Paradise – Sorting Out the Fish

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Tamara’s first response to my challenge to show me ‘interesting and quirky’ spots in and around Hamilton supplied me with a pleasant and informative afternoon.

A visit to Coote’s Paradise on a chilly, but pleasant spring afternoon appealed to my piscophilic nature. It seems that, though there are no truly ‘good’ or ‘bad’ fish, there are fish that end up in places where they are not welcome (I’ve sometimes had that eerie feeling at parties – do I really belong here?).

So, how does one humanely and efficiently eject unwanted species from the party? It seems that there are ‘fish bouncers’ that handle the task. It’s a lot of work.

Rather than blather, I’ll let the photos tell the tale.

Here’s the sign greeting visitors to the “Cootes Paradise Fishway” (again, with the missing aphstrophe – tsk, tsk). Click on the photo to get a bigger version so that you can read the text on the sign. It will explain what it’s all about:

Coote’s Paradise Wecome Sign

A series of big baskets are underneath the causeway. Fish get into them when going into the marshy breeding area and can’t proceed onward. Each basket is lifted twice a day and the fish are unceremoniously dumped into a big holding tank. You can see them gushing out of the little door:

 Baskets are raised and the fish gush into the holding tank

Once in the holding tank, the fish sorters guide each fish either into the marsh, where they can make merry with each other as they please or, if they are party poopers, be sloshed down the chute back from whence they came. Nice fish to the left. Unsavory characters to the right:

Fish are sorted - invitees to the left - crashers to the right

The nice fish, on their way to the fishy orgy in the marsh, are first checked for health, weight, and other characteristics. I presume that they also keep records of the numbers of different species returning to breed. Here are the nice young ladies who do the sorting, recording, and entertaining between baskets:

The fish bouncers

Thanks, Tamara. I can hardly wait for the Irish Pub on Musician’s Night.

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