Amid fears it could decimate a billion-dollar industry, Kiwi anglers are asking the government to do more research before deciding whether to allow commercial trout farming.
The New Zealand Fish & Game Council recently voted to oppose a controversial recommendation that the government give commercial trout farming for food production ‘serious consideration’. The opposition was because of the risks to the wild trout fisher, according to a council spokesman.
The group would now write to the ministers of fisheries and primary industries, asking them to establish a group made up of Fish & Game, concerned iwi, and government officials, to look into the potential risks of trout farming.
New Zealanders currently require a licence, issued by Fish & Game, to catch the introduced fish, and it is illegal to sell wild-caught trout.
“It’s the pride of Kiwi anglers and guides that we have amazing rivers, which carry no risk of disease. Even if the trout farming operations took place in water that was completely separated from the main streams, there was still the potential risk,” commented Professional Fishing Guides Association of New Zealand president Serge Bonnafoux.
“The global reputation would undoubtedly be tarnished.”