The red lines indicate an area of around 50-metres of Cooks River mangroves near Lang Road Canterbury that were recently poisoned.  This area was of bank was repaired & revegetated in a combined effort by Canterbury Council & Mudcrab volunteers of the Cooks River Valley Association.

Recently I was sent emails with news articles about the vandalized & dying mangroves near Lang Road Canterbury opposite Ewan Park on the Cooks River, but nothing prepared me for what I saw when I went for a bike ride last weekend.

As I stood there surveying around 50-metres of dying & dead mangroves I wondered how would you go about killing them.  It would have to be a low tide where you would pour litres of pesticide onto them killing the thousands, if not millions of little mud crabs & other creatures that live in the mud & the mangroves themselves.  Then the tide would rise taking the pesticide further into the ecosystem probably killing as it travelled.  Perhaps the pesticide leached out of the mud where it was poured over two or three tides or perhaps the vandal poured pesticide over the mangroves over a few consecutive low tides.  Whichever way, it must have been a lethal, yet invisible force moving through the river.

Then I wondered just how many fish were caught & taken back for the family dinner while the toxin was moving through the river?

This vandalism to the mangroves was a phenomenally ignorant & harmful act to the river & whoever did this must have no respect for the environment. To them the river ecology must be something to be contained & controlled whatever the cost.  Neither would they would not respect the hard work done by the volunteers of Mudcrabs & the Cooks River Valley Association, who have been working to improve the river for many years, including this section of the riverbank.

According to an article in the Canterbury Bankstown Express, if the vandal were caught they could be fined up to $110,000, plus up to $11,000 per saltmarsh plant.  See –

What do you do in this situation?  Replant the mangroves?  Maybe plant some trees along here as well?  Keep doing it until the vandal gives up?  I don’t know, but I do know that doing nothing makes the vandal a winner & the river, the wildlife & ultimately the community miss out because of one or perhaps two people.

Healthy mangroves & saltwater plants just beside the vandalised area

Compare the above photo with the recently vandalised section of the Cooks River

Another view of the section of mangroves that were poisoned