Declining wild salmon population prompts Fish & Game symposium

  • 25/10/2017
  • Richie Cosgrove

Declining wild salmon population prompts Fish & Game symposium

Fish & Game is organising a two day symposium to discuss the South Island’s troubled wild salmon fishery. 

The salmon – known as the King, Chinook or Quinnat – is found mainly on the West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Marlborough.

The species spends much of its life at sea and is highly valued by freshwater anglers, who target the fish during its migratory spawning runs up many of the South Island’s major rivers.

The salmon season draws anglers from overseas and nationally from all walks of life and all corners of the country. 

However, in recent years, the numbers of salmon spawning has declined and Fish & Game is organising a two day public symposium in November to discuss the issue.

Symposium organiser Matthew Hall says lower salmon populations are causing increasing concern among anglers and many have called for a summit meeting.

“As a keen salmon angler, myself, I have seen the decline in salmon numbers.  Where anglers could once each catch plenty of salmon every season, the runs have dwindled to a shadow of their former glory.

“Everyone with a stake in the fishery should attend the symposium and explore what is contributing to the decline,” Mr Hall says.

“Through their licence fees anglers fund the management of the fishery and they should have the say in its future.

“The symposium provides an opportunity to participate in organising the future of the resource.”

The symposium is being organised by Fish & Game’s two Canterbury regions, Central South Island and North Canterbury.

The North Canterbury region’s chair Trevor Isitt says it will provide a real opportunity for concerned anglers to have their say.

“There is a real desire by anglers to get to the bottom of what is causing the runs of wild salmon to drop from their historic highs.   While there is a lot of speculation and a wide range of theories, the exact reasons remain elusive.

“We want the symposium to help develop a solid and realistic action plan which will see the magnificent runs of salmon restored to their past glory,” Mr Isitt says.

Overseas and New Zealand experts are being invited to speak at the symposium but Matthew Hall says it is important salmon anglers also attend.

“Having anglers at the symposium is vital as their experience and observations are valuable,” Mr Hall says.

The symposium is being held at the Hotel Ashburton on the weekend of November 11 and 12. 

Registrations will be opening soon.

Conference details and agenda are available on


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