Following several requests from TRM anglers concerned about trout farming proposed on Lake Rotoaira, where a new company, “Tongariro Salmon & Trout” has now been registered, TRM emailed DOC with key questions…
1 What DOC have done to replace it to protect the trout fishery?
2 Is trout farming now inevitable?
3 In DOC’s opinion, is lake based trout farming viable?
The recent escape of thousands of salmon into the canals at Twizel generating a fishing frenzy, plus salmon dying at a Dunedin fish farm (full stories below) – compound anglers’ concerns.
The following images are from TRM library to show a trout farm operation in UK.
The anglers’ concerns stem from fears of disease affecting the wild trout fishery in the Tongariro river and beyond into Lake Taupo.
Thank you to DOC’s Peter Shepherd (Senior Ranger Supervisor- Community) for his reply.
Just following up on your email request from last week. In answer to your queries please see the Department of Conservation’s response-
1 Can you advise if the CIPO has lapsed and/or what DOC have done to replace it to protect the trout fishery?
The 2015 CIPO has been replaced by a new order effective 10 September 2018. It can be found herehttp://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2018/0165/latest/096be8ed817c72c0.pdf
2 Is trout farming now inevitable?
The department does not hold a view regarding this question.
However, the current legal framework preventing the farming of trout remains in place. These mechanisms are;
• Part 5B of the Conservation Act 1987, in particular – section 26ZQ, which prohibits the sale (including barter or offering for sale) of wild trout caught in New Zealand, and
– section 26ZI(4), which bans the commercial farming of trout.
• Section 301(a) of the Fisheries Act 1996, which does not allow the making of regulations allowing licensing of fish farms for the rearing and breeding of trout for sale.
• A January 2018 Gazette notice made under the Freshwater Fish Farming Regulations 1983 lists those species that may be farmed and the list does not include trout.
• 2018 Customs Import Prohibition (Trout) Order which prohibits the importation of trout (alive or dead) and trout products, unless in quantities under 10 kilograms not intended for sale, except with the consent of the Minister of Conservation and subject to such conditions as may be imposed that are not inconsistent with the import prohibition.
3 In DOC’s opinion, is lake based trout farming viable?
The department does not hold an opinion with respect to the “viability’ of lake based trout farming. The department supports the current CIPO, and has submitted recently to the Primary Production Select Committee detailing concerns currently held with respect to the potential for negative impacts from trout farming on recreational fishing interests, in the event trout farming was legalised. This submission can be found here https://www.parliament.nz/en/pb/sc/submissions-and-advice/document/52SCPP_EVI_78216_PP2509/department-of-conservation
Senior Ranger Supervisor- Community
Department of Conservation – Te Papa Atawhai
DDI: 0274995516 | VPN: 7414
Taupō District Office
37 Motutaiko St, Taupō 3330 | PO Box 528, Taupō 3351
Conservation for prosperity Tiakina te taiao, kia puawai
From NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers
Trout Farming Rears its Ugly Head at Taupo
The spectre of trout farming has reared up from the murky shadows of
Retiring president of the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers Graham Carter said at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in Wellington in mid-May, that while it was not unexpected it was absolute folly.
“It is not a great idea to put at risk and potentially wreck New
Referring to it
In addition, Parliament’s primary production committee was
That petition has been vigorously opposed by the Federation of Freshwater Anglers, who have put a submission to the Select Committee outlining the effects and damage disease from trout farming has caused in other countries, the poor quality of the farmed trout, black market development once trout are commercialised, poor economics with trout farming, use of public water, organic polluted effluent and many other environmental risks.
Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust Tu Wharetoa owners were looking closely at
But the Trust is only looking at potential profits and ignoring the huge risks posed to both their own and other fisheries,” said Graham Carter.
He said an attempt to allow trout farming in the
Tony Orman who was in the front line of the 1972 trout anglers’ lobby said scientific evidence from overseas on fish farming warned that trout farming was capital intensive, high risk and of doubtful marginal economics.”
“Nothing has changed; it still requires huge capital, is
In addition trout from farms are invariably very poor quality, insipid, pale and wrinkled. He said he had recently seen farmed trout in Australian shops.
“They were pathetic specimens,” he added.
Graham Carter said the repetitive failings of the salmon farming industry both in New Zealand and
“Using the ‘down in Twizel’ argument where they’ve got salmon farms at altitude in the canals, and they’ve got large trout which feed off the salmon food is a very poor example,” he said. “It doesn’t stack up. Those large trout are predatory cannibals which consume a huge amount of other trout and salmon to reach that size. This proposal for Rotoaira clearly lacks a researched business case and reflects the commercial immaturity of the proposers”
From NZ Herald – The Country
Why there will not be trout farming in New Zealand
Periodically someone proposes trout farming in New Zealand.
The arguments are always the same, and fail to take into account the political and commercial implications of trout farming.
Trout farming motivates a very committed and large voting block of New Zealand anglers.
With 200,000 plus license holders they are powerful block that vote on a single issue and can alter elections. Advertisement
This means there is a serious impediment to getting ministerial approval for a law change, let alone getting it through Cabinet or Parliament.
A minister knows that they will lose every trout angler’s vote if they permit trout farming.
They will likely face a well-funded and aggressive campaign in their electorate and against their party.
They do a raw political calculation. “Do I put my career at risk by allowing trout farming?”
Trout fishermen include many very wealthy people who are very clear that they will spend any amount of money necessary to prevent it.
Contrast this to potential farmed trout customers. Being able to buy trout is not an issue that turns out voters. It is not an issue that finds people willing to commit cash to campaigns for.
Those seeking a law change to allow trout farming face another problem.
Commercially trout farming is not particularly lucrative, so any decision to invest in attempting to change the law needs to be balanced with cost of changing the law and the potential profits from trout farming.
A long and involved legal process fighting to gain trout farming licenses will be extremely expensive.
A multi-year lobbying project, ongoing court cases with angler groups who will take decisions through to the Supreme Court, will burn vast amounts of cash for an uncertain result.
Investors in potential trout farms need to consider whether this expensive fight is going to return value to their shareholders or trust members.
They run the risk of burning cash that could have been invested profitably elsewhere, and being held accountable for the predictable losses incurred through trout farming.
Anyone considering law changes to permit trout farming needs to do a thorough risk analysis of the political environment.
When they have completed that they need to do an even more thorough analysis on their own position if they invest other peoples money in trout farming and then fail to gain licenses.
Both these factors suggest that trout farming will not be happening in New Zealand any time soon.
– Simon Lusk is a committed fly fisherman from Hawke’s Bay.
Anglers swarm to Twizel after 2000 salmon escape commercial farm
- Dave Goosselink
Anglers flocked to the area for a chance at catching the big one. Credits: Newshub.
Anglers from across the South Island have made a beeline to Twizel after more than 2,000 salmon escaped from a commercial farm.
The fish poured into a canal near the Ohau C hydro station and even a cold, foggy morning couldn’t deter anglers from packing the banks on Saturday morning.
- Southern Hemisphere salmon come back from near extinction
- Aquaculture companies challenged as climate change kills fish
- Thousands of dollars lost as salmon make slippery getaway
“Yeah supposedly 2,000 escaped, so might as well come down and see if we can get a feed,” said Christchurch angler Shaun Breen.
Anglers flocked to Mackenzie Country from Canterbury to Southland.
“Oh would have been about 12 in the morning I’d say,” said Sam Radovonich from Christchurch. “It’s all worth it though”.
“We usually don’t catch anything here. So this time we’re likely to catch something,” said another keen angler.
It’s believed the salmon – due for harvest later this year – escaped from Mt Cook Alpine Salmon. But the company isn’t saying how they got out.
Fish & Game rangers were out checking licenses and ensuring the hundreds of anglers kept to the size and bag limits.
“So they raise salmon for sale, for the dinner plate. And once in a while they get out, and our anglers get to have a crack at them,” said Fish & Game Ranger Jayde Couper.
Anyone who breaks the rules can face fines and having their licenses revoked. Fish and Game says its about giving everyone a fair go.
“We have issues when people are this tight together. Lots of people catching each other’s hooks,” said Couper.
Some caught their first freshwater fish.
“It’s pretty good. Bit small but it’ll be alright,” said Dean Archibald as he held up his catch.
Almost everyone left happy, with a good serving for the dinner plate.
“Pretty stoked to be honest, like it’s beautiful fish. What can I say?” said Stephen Raika.
Officers say people will never have an easier catch, provided they’re fishing by the rules
Saturday, 22 June 2019 ODT
Fishing for the truth
By George Block 3410 70
Former volunteers turn whistleblowers after fish die in droves at a Dunedin salmon hatchery. Those in charge fire back and renew allegations of sabotage. Police find no evidence and file no charges. Regulators wade in and find issues with record-keeping. George Block investigates a community asset riven with recrimination.
In the depths of a hot Dunedin summer in January last year, police received a report of what was claimed to be a vindictive act of vandalism at a salmon hatchery in Sawyers Bay.
Hundreds of fish died at the facility, operated by a trust set up to raise the salmon for release into the wild to supply the city’s well-known fishery.
Dunedin Community Salmon Trust chairman Steve Bennett said at the time it was the latest in several such attacks and police launched an investigation.
Later that year, dozens more fish died.
Mr Bennett again said in the media someone had intentionally powered off aerators to kill the fish.
Dunedin Community Salmon Trust chairman Steve Bennett checks eggs which were fertilised before their breeding jacks died last year — he blamed it on an attack by a vandal, but police found no evidence of this. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY He and the other trustees believed – and maintain – the man responsible was a former volunteer at the hatchery.
They say he killed the fish because he was unhappy with how the hatchery was being run.
Police have never made an arrest nor laid charges in the case, and found no evidence to support the allegations of vandalism.
In a police file obtained under the Official Information Act, an officer said at the end of the investigation there was “no evidence to suggest the nominated suspect has offended against the hatchery in any way,” and asked for the matter to be filed.
A specialist scene of the crime officer searched for evidence, including fingerprints, but found nothing.
Following the January deaths, they also checked motion-sensored trail cameras activated by movement and noted nothing had been recorded around the time of the alleged attack.
Police eventually concluded there was also no evidence to suggest the former volunteer was responsible for any of the mass deaths.
“I now have my doubts that any offence occurred,” wrote an officer in June last year before asking for the case to be filed.
Notes in the heavily-redacted police file state the aerators had previously stopped working due to wear and tear, overheating and power failure, causing numerous salmon to die.
The local man accused of the vandalism, who was earlier trespassed from the facility, disagrees with how the hatchery is now operated, but he strongly denies sabotaging the facility he helped clean and maintain for more than a decade.
Instead, the long-serving volunteer says the January deaths happened because hot weather at the time caused hoses to loosen in their fittings and fall out, starving the salmon of oxygen.
He was trespassed from the hatchery between those deaths and the May incident.
Piling dead salmon on the back of a trailer after what he said was an act of vandalism last year is Dunedin Community Salmon Trust chairman Steve Bennett. PHOTO: SUPPLIED Speaking on condition of anonymity this year, he said he believed the May deaths, of 45 male jack salmon breeding stock, were due to someone accidentally leaving an aerator unplugged for a prolonged period.
It was a mistake he had made but quickly rectified during his happy days helping look after the hatchery, he said.
The man is supported by several other former volunteers, fronted by Roseneath woman Raewynne Pedofski, who believe the deaths were due to negligence rather than vandalism.
They are also unhappy with what they see as the exclusion of volunteers and members of the public from the hatchery, which in past years has hosted open days for the community, where children could catch a fish from the ponds.
Questions have also been raised by the former volunteers about the trust straying from its mission set out in the deed, namely to raise salmon for release into Otago Harbour and other waterways, train staff and volunteers to operate and maintain the hatchery and provide support and assistance for similar organisations.
Meanwhile, the New Zealand Salmon Anglers Association Otago has stopped accepting fish for release and was unhappy with the condition of salmon earlier supplied by the hatchery.
Instead, this month they released smolt (young salmon) sourced from Canterbury into Dunedin’s Lindsay Creek and the Water of Leith.
Two former volunteers and an ex-treasurer turned whistleblowers and wrote to the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) with a wide range of concerns about how the hatchery is run, in letters they supplied to the ODT.
Ms Pedofski is a self-employed tax and business consultant, and former community board member, who enjoyed fishing with her intellectually disabled son.
She was asked by her friend to take over as treasurer for the trust in October 2016 and gladly accepted, she said in a letter to MPI late last year.
But she soon became concerned by the actions of trustee and hatchery manager Roger Bartlett.
“It became clear to me that Roger Bartlett’s attitude in his overall care of the fish is `let’s just let nature take its course,’ with no interventions,” she wrote.
Ms Pedofski said a long-serving volunteer was told to stop turning off taps from a creek to the hatchery’s tanks during periods of heavy rain to minimise mud getting into the system until the muddy water subsided.
The volunteer reluctantly agreed to stop turning off the taps. As a result, one weekend morning in winter 2017, following heavy rain, mud entered the system and about 6000 smolt died, she alleged.
Standing with the Dunedin Community Salmon hatchery in Sawyers Bay in the background is former trust treasurer Raewynne Pedofski, who wrote to the Ministry for Primary Industries last year raising concerns about how the facility was run. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON That said, a release of fish grown at the hatchery in June that year into the wild by the NZ Salmon Anglers Association Otago went well, and Ms Pedofski said they appeared in good condition.
But during the release, Mr Bartlett took out 1000 fish to be brood stock the following year, as 2018 was to be the first year the hatchery extracted eggs from their own mature salmon to be kept on site.
Upon learning of the plans for 2018 Ms Pedofski said she became concerned the hatchery would be unable to accommodate the predicted numbers, while she also believed the hatchery’s model was becoming unsustainable financially.
Her words fell on deaf ears and she resigned in September 2017, she wrote, but she continued to hold grave concerns for the welfare of the salmon.
In April this year, MPI received another letter raising serious concerns about the hatchery, this time from a retired Dunedin couple who used to volunteer at the facility.
They supplied the letter to the Otago Daily Times on the condition their names were not used.
Their pressing concern was the salmon’s welfare. The situation had worsened in recent years, they said.
“The demise of the hatchery has sadly coincided with the decision to raise their own brood stock along with the lack of a preventive maintenance programme.”
The couple also raised concerns the trust was straying from its original purpose of raising salmon for release into Otago Harbour so people could enjoy a recreational salmon fishery in a city harbour, which was a rarity.
They alleged trust board members were taking fish for their own use, paid trust staff were given salmon for consumption and salmon were being sold for consumption, and not just being sold to the Salmon Anglers Association for release – all of which was confirmed by trust chairman Steve Bennett in recent interviews with the Otago Daily Times.
MPI staff met with Ms Pedofski in December last year after officers received her letter raising concerns about the welfare of the fish and inadequate maintenance.
Compliance investigations and services manager Gary Orr said an animal welfare inspector visited the hatchery and examined the tanks and general welfare of the fish.
They also looked into the hatchery’s record-keeping requirements regarding movements of fish on and off the farm, including sales, and discovered a range of issues, Mr Orr said.
“In essence, the hatchery’s records were not up to the standard specified in the hatchery’s Fresh Water Farm Licence.
Salmon smolt raised in Canterbury peer out from a trailer before their release into Lindsay Creek in Dunedin this month. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY “The hatchery’s manager was spoken to in respect of these breaches and we’re continuing to work with them on this matter.”
Then in April, the other letter arrived and MPI again took action.
Mr Orr said the Ministry’s Animal Welfare, Fisheries Compliance and Aquaculture Permitting teams had worked together to draft conditions for future licences to ensure “optimal animal welfare conditions”.
MPI staff would soon meet members of the hatchery’s board of trustees to address the latest complaints, he said.
When pressed on whether or not MPI found substance to the concerns raised about the welfare of the fish and general maintenance, Mr Orr said there were “no minimum standards that are set for the rearing of fish, and therefore there is no legal requirement for a minimum standard to be achieved”.
“We were concerned about ensuring the viability of the fish in that, acknowledging there are mortalities in that type of operation, we just wanted to make sure it was run as well as possible.
“There’s a difference between whether there is any culpability in the mortality, or whether it is just something that needs to be tidied up by working with the operator.
“We’re working with them to make sure the operation is run in the best possible fashion in the interests of the fish.”
In an update supplied yesterday morning, a Ministry spokeswoman said MPI officers had now carried out three sepereate inspections since the original complaint, one of which engaged the services of an “independent fish welfare and aquaculture expert.”
“To date, no welfare or food safety issues have been observed at any of the inspections.”
However, MPI continued to investigate possible non-compliance with the hatchery’s licence conditions, she said.
She would not comment further due to the ongoing investigation.
Trust chairman Mr Bennett and hatchery manager Mr Bartlett strongly defended the way the hatchery was run when interviewed separately by the ODT this month.
Mr Bennett said the hatchery was not having issues with mortality and had conducted its own release of salmon earlier this year.
Asked about the reason the Salmon Anglers Association had bought smolt from elsewhere for release this month, he said the association had now provided a contract for supply which mandates a range of conditions.
“They have had the same people that are complaining to you in their ear, so now they’ve provided us with a contract to supply, that outlines a whole lot of things we have to do to satisfy their curiosity, for want of a better word.
“We’re not in a position to allow our books to be opened for audit all the time for them, as they want.”
The anglers wanted the hatchery to raise the fish for an extra six to seven months, which the hatchery disagreed with.
It is understood the association was unhappy with the condition of fish supplied in recent years, and happier with the recent 20,000 smolt acquired from a hatchery in Canterbury.
He acknowledged the trust was selling fish to Licenced Fish Receivers, as allowed under its licence, but was not prepared to say who the buyers were.
In his view, selling some un-needed fish was in the long-term interest of the hatchery.
“It creates a little bit of income from a fish that we would … be throwing on the barbecue ourselves because it’s no good for us.”
Claims trustees were taking fish for their own use and giving salmon to some sponsors were also correct, he said.
“I took a fish last year for Christmas … name a farmer that doesn’t have a side of mutton in the freezer.
“They’re our fish, we can do whatever we want with them.”
He blamed more stringent health and safety requirements for the recent lack of open days.
Manager Mr Bartlett, when asked for comment about the claims of a lack of cleaning and general maintenance, said: “Well, I wouldn’t publish that if I was you.”
He again maintained the long-serving volunteer was responsible for the deaths in January and May last year, and claimed the hatchery had sufficient evidence to trespass him.
(Mr Bennett claimed to have photos of the volunteer entering the hatchery after he had been told he was not welcome, but did not supply them to the ODT).
When asked about claims by others that his previous ventures into fish farming had failed, he acknowledged they had closed because they were not commercially viable.
“It depends how you define failed.
“Most of them were experimental, and were closed down because they weren’t going to prove to be commercially viable.
“You don’t want to read too much into that.”