The Chelsea Ponds are man made and support a number of aquatic bird and fish species. Originally Duck Creek was a combination of small tributaries that emerged into an estuarine environment before discharging into Chelsea Bay. The tributaries still exists and feed the sequence of ponds, cascading over weir systems until they meet the sea.
The positioning of the Refinery was a strategic decision - the fact that there was deep sea passage for ships, timber was plentiful and relatively flat land existed next to a plentiful, freshwater source of Duck Creek making it an ideal site for a Sugar Refinery. Over more than 30 years a sequence of four dams were built with the last dam being constructed in 1920. Formerly a tidal estuarine environment the ponds now provide a freshwater, lake environment for many aquatic bird and fish species.
The ponds (now in the ownership of Auckland Council) provide habitat to many native and exotic fish species. Most visible are the large koi carp (Cyprinus carpio) and short and long finned eels (Anguilla and Dieffenbachii australis) which regularly come to the surface in the shallower areas of the ponds. Other species present include gambusia (Gambusia affinis), rudd (Scardinius erthropthalmus) and tench (Tinca tinca) all of which are introduced, non-desirable species as they compete with our native fish. Native fish species include inanga (Galaxias maculates), kokopu (Galaxias fasciatus) and common bully (Gobiomorphus cotidianus).
Click here to find out more about NZ freshwater fish
It is illegal to fish in the Chelsea Ponds.