The latest Troutfisher magazine (Issue 153) features an article headed “Trout Farming Threat Working Underground” by Tony Orman. This should be compulsory reading for all trout anglers. Tony has all the industry qualifications and history to explain the potential threat that the trout fishing (read ‘tourism’) ‘industry’ is now facing from Government Departments. It has to be wrong as the lure of a quick dollar and political advantage overrides all other economic tourist and conservation considerations. Tony Orman describes the previous controversy in the 1970’s when the same issues were more vigorously and publicly debated by politicians – namely Norm Kirk v’s Duncan McIntyre. Many consider the trout farming issue tipped the balance and decided the new government in 1972.
I even remembered reading one memorable comment back then, that a major factor in the trout farming debate is the product itself – farmed trout. He reports the late Budge Hintz (a distinguished journalist and author of the classic ‘Trout at Taupo’ and editor of NZ Herald who was frequently consulted on fisheries management) told the 1971 select committee, ‘A farmed trout tastes like the felt sole out of a wading boot, only the felt sole tastes better’…
So make sure you read Troutfisher – or better still buy a subscription as the two previous issues included letters to the editor condemning trout farming proposals at Turangi plus associated informative editorial.
Their website advises their prime aim is “Advocating for sustainable freshwater fishery management & resources”. (see below)
Their statement of purpose reads:
“Fighting for the protection and preservation of New Zealand’s freshwater fisheries against exploitation, degradation and neglect.”
When one considers the direct and indirect effects of recreational trout fishing, historic images such as the opening of “The Andy Griffith Show” often come to mind – a father and son heading to their favorite fishing hole to spend quality time together in the great outdoors. There are many more images that include anglers of all ages and abilities. Indeed, such images capture the primary motivations that draw people to fishing: spending time with family and friends, to relax and enjoy the thrill of catching trout. It is an essential part of NZ’s character and essential way of life – our Kiwi heritage. Yet that is what is at risk by such ‘trout farming’ selfishness and foolishness.
According to the 2013 census, the resident population is currently about 2900. But only 1218 or 64% of all dwellings are occupied. The remainder – 696 or 36% are holiday homes. Turangi represents about 9% of the population of Taupo region of approx. 34,000.
But during holiday periods, such as the Christmas-New Year holidays in two weeks time, the greatly increased very mobile population is estimated between 8,000 to 10,000.
Other eco-tourist attractions include the many hiking trails – such as the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which can attract up to 2,000 on a fine day – and it seems even more have taken up mountain biking – the new golf. But trout fishing still remains the most popular reason tourists visit Turangi and the Taupo region. Trout fishing also accounts for the unusually high number of holiday homes.
If these local stats are multiplied throughout the many other trout fishing regions of NZ, most of which are relatively isolated and struggling to survive and desperate to identify employment opportunities, then it is clear why these tourist anglers need to get VIP treatment.
While these positive characteristics of recreational fishing have sustained the sport across generations as one of the most popular outdoor activities, the tremendous economic impacts generated by recreational trout fishing go unrecognized.
However, rarely is recreational fishing thought of in these terms, even by our own government. The usual annual reports refer only to commercial fishing harvest results whilst the added value of recreational fishing to tourism is unfortunately not included.
When the time came to highlight recreational fishing’s impact, the only figures provided were participation rates and numbers of fish caught and released. The message was clear: commercial fishing is about economic value, while recreational fishing is merely about fun.
Feedback to TRM Daily Report yesterday:
“(*) The article by Joe Frost was published before the Tongariro Power Scheme dams and tunnels and canals pinched most of the flow from the Tongariro to transport it across to Lake Rotoaira for the Tokaanu Power station turbines.”
Greatest detriment has been halving the average winter flow.
Go to TRM library
“Of all the rivers in this country the Tongariro reigns supreme. Now that the vast hydro complex is under way, the heavy volume of water present running through the magnificent pools and reaches will dwindle to approximately half-volume and the Tongariro will become just another stream.”
J Sierpinski 1969
Maybe there should be a bust of Sierpinski in the Trout Centre grounds with that epitaph underneath
But I do enjoy your daily report.