Trout farming should get tick

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.

4 Responses to Trout farming should get tick

  1. Neil says:

    This is a thorny subject. Trout farming was floated during the 60’s and collapsed under strenuous opposition from the private fishing organizations, like Fish and Game, and from conservation groups.
    Politically these groups are very significant.
    The Fed’s proposals should be examined carefully, mainly because I see the present organization adopting more right wing positions.At times their proposals tend to favour some groups over others.
    Let’s be very cautious about proposals that might affect our environment.

  2. Old Cromwell says:

    I would have thought the reason was obvious. It has something to do with dimunition of the power, authority and relevance of an anachronistic organisation and the risk of highly paid positions disappearing….

  3. JC says:

    Part of the anti argument used to be that its not so much the effect on the fish as on the effect of tourism marketing of wild game fish, ie, it could reduce tourist numbers of anglers.

    I’d like to see some debate around that.


  4. Bruno says:

    But has farming salmon hindered the number of people coming to fish for salmon in NZ? Farming trout in the UK certainly hasn’t affected the interest in fishing for them.

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