Federated Farmers’ President Don Nicolson is calling for the prohibition on commercial trout farming to be lifted.
In a submission to the government’s review of aquaculture he said aquaculture, minerals and the agricultural sector, provide three pillars for the transformation of the New Zealand economy.
“It’s time for New Zealand to back the sectors that represent the sunrise,” . . .
“By making water storage an infrastructural priority, New Zealand will future proof itself against climate variation. This infrastructure can further create new opportunities by way of in land and freshwater aquaculture.
“It’s not that New Zealand’s running out of rain but the rain is literally running out of New Zealand. . .
“This is also about evolving farm practices and the species we farm commercially. It’s about sensibly harvesting the fruits of the environment that benefit every New Zealander.
Nicolson points out that Fish and Game is one of the largest trout farmers in New Zealand through its trout hatcheries. But the ODT reports the organisation is opposed to lifting the prohibition.
Any benefits from allowing commercial trout farming would be “heavily outweighed” by the risks to New Zealand’s wild trout fishery, Otago Fish and Game chief executive, Niall Watson, says. . .
. . . Risks came from the commercialisation of what was a non-commercial fish species and would encourage trout poaching in vulnerable spawning streams of the Central North Island lakes.
“Commercial-scale poaching would be a very serious risk in that area as well as elsewhere in the country.
Monitoring and enforcement costs would be considerable and successful protection of wild fish stocks would be difficult.”
A proliferation of fish farm operations could mean a much greater risk of disease transfer, he said.
I don’t understand why this would be a problem with trout farming when it hasn’t been with salmon farming.
That’s created businesses, provided jobs, added to the variety of locally produced food in supermarkets and restaurants and earned export income.
Friends who fish tell me that, rather than threatening recreational fishing, salmon farming has enhanced it. Why would trout farming be different?
Providing any risks were managed, and that might mean restricting the location and number of trout farms, we’d have lots to gain from lifting the prohibition.