Commercial Origin Hatchery reared salmon releases

  • North Canterbury
  • 22/08/2023

The North Canterbury Fish and Game Council has decided not to permit any more Commercial Origin Hatchery-reared salmon releases into the Groynes Junior Fishing Lakes. 

This is because these fish cannot be kept from escaping and mixing with and therefore damaging the wild sea-run salmon population. 

The restoration of the wild sea-run salmon fishery has been a massive focus of North Canterbury Fish & Game for many years. It has led to groundbreaking fishery management techniques such as the adaptive management programme and the sea-run salmon season bag limit, a first for New Zealand. 

Our salmon management programme aims to increase the number of wild fish returning to spawn in the headwater streams. 

To undermine this by risking mixing commercial hatchery-reared adult salmon with wild sea-run salmon would be counter-productive to all the hard work that Fish & Game has put in for salmon anglers, aside from the fact that it would breach Fish & Game National Policy. 

The current screening infrastructure at the Groynes Junior Fishing Lakes has been compromised by recent flood events in 2022 and, combined with the biosecurity pest weed lagorosiphon, which blocks these screens, causes more flooding and makes these lakes no longer suitable for fish releases. 

We have provided the Take A Kid Fishing Trust with an alternative option of the Rotokohatu lakes. These lakes are entirely separated from any waterbodies, and there is no chance of commercial-origin salmon escaping. 

There are no pest weed issues at the Rotokohatu lakes, problems which have plagued the Groynes Take A Kid Fishing event for many years and cost the City’s ratepayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in chemical or mechanical treatment to make the lakes fishable. 

North Canterbury Fish & Game has released several hundred Commercial origin hatchery salmon into the Rotokohatu lakes this year, which have been enjoyed by many families over the school holiday periods this year. 

The City Council’s enhancement efforts to the Rotokohatu lakes, combined with the larger space, make it an ideal close to Christchurch family fishery, hence the North Canterbury Council’s effort in releasing salmon into those lakes. 

Alan Strong the chair of the NCF&G council says “ North Canterbury Fish & Game support the work of the TAKF trust however, it also has taken seriously the sea-run salmon decline during the last two decades in Canterbury and has implemented a new management strategy developed by staff to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery”.   

“During the development of the new management framework, the council has sought independent specialist scientific advice from a number of sea-run salmon experts, both nationally and internationally”. 

“We remain totally committed to providing youth angling opportunities and want to support the TAKF trust in their shift to the new venue.”

More Posts