As expected, the feature article in Fishing & Outdoors newspaper generated heaps of discussion among anglers. Also as expected and not surprising, we have not met one who approves of the proposal… Most were rightly concerned about the threat of inevitable infectious disease transmission into the Tongariro River and Lake Taupo (via Poutu River which is the natural outlet from Lake Rotoaira). There have been too many unfortunate instances of this overseas. Interestingly, nobody blamed local iwi for investigating the economic viability of this conceptual basis but they believe the risks are too great. There has to be a better way… aka SWMBO’s way!
As many anglers regularly visit or have retired to Turangi to fish the Tongariro River – trout anglers make up most of TRM’s guests list – they are naturally concerned. They understand the iwi need to explore any employment opportunities but again suggest a bike trail would encourage tourism would be more effective, if that is their primary motive. But many have suggested it is all about money and the imagined lost financial opportunity to exploit local natural resources. Their ambition to create a new primary industry in freshwater aqua culture to earn foreign exchange (?) does not equate economically when the price of farmed trout in Australia and particularly in Asia are factored in.
The nearest commercial local precedent would be the prawn farm in Taupo. The salmon farms in the hydro canals around Twizel are another – see the images from Twizel below which illustrate the potential of what a commercial trout farm might look like…
SWMBO (She Who Must Be Obeyed manages TRM so She has a very different more worldly and always correct opinion about everything.) suggests a viable compromise could combine a tourism venture with trout farming. She suggests investigating a more commercially viable version of the existing trout centre. At present they have “Kids Days” for kids to catch a trout and smoke it and take it home. Any planning process difficulties anticipated from anglers objections are already settled as a resource consent is already in place. The Trout Centre have proven many times over many years the demand from tourists is there for a more viable commercial approach on the same conceptual basis.
Any tourism venture has to be taken seriously in Turangi. Tourism is the main industry and the future for Turangi. Any trout farm concept proposal should be based more on tourism than any large scale proposal designed as an export industry. So why not breed trout for tourists to catch and eat or to be smoked as “Tongariro Trout Take-aways”? It would be a unique tourist attraction in NZ on State Highway 1 in the middle of the North Island half way to everywhere. All anglers interrogated by SWMBO have endorsed that alternative option too. She is certain DOC would love it… i.e. they even supported the ridiculous carp farm proposed at Toe-paw.
The images below are of an English version, inspected by SWMBO about ten years ago
Tourists would love it. Rather than introduce a risky industrial model just expand on the existing theme. That should find favour with the angling lobby too and prevent a huge outcry like the 1970’s objections. OK?