Coastal and Freshwater

Salmonid fisheries

Recreational salmonid (trout and salmon) fisheries are the most economically valuable freshwater fisheries in New Zealand.

Fishing for these introduced fishes has become part of our outdoor heritage, passionately pursued by over 160,000 licensed anglers. Overseas anglers are attracted to fishing opportunities in New Zealand, and are among the biggest tourist spenders.

The tourism value of trout fisheries was recognised by early governments in New Zealand, and our world renowned trout fishing has been vigorously promoted by tourism interests beginning with the Department of Tourism in 1901, and by the Ministry of Tourism and the associated tourism industry today.

The economy generated by the fishery was estimated in 1991 as $145-231 million per annum, but is likely to be substantially greater nowadays, especially since the guided fishing industry and associated lodges have rapidly expanded since then.

Salmonids are exotic species, and trout have adverse impacts on our indigenous ecosystems. Nevertheless, trout and salmon are desirable introduced species, protected and managed by statute. These nationally important fisheries are under threat from water allocation, degradation of water quality and riparian habitat, and increasing angling pressure.

With such high values at stake, there is a need for sound science and expert advice to support decision-making in this area. Cawthron has played a key role in this area since the mid-1900s and continues to do so.

Cawthron's capabilities in this area include:

  • Salmonid population ecology
  • Trout bioenergetics growth modelling
  • Angler usage
  • Effects of angling pressure
  • Trout and salmon behaviour and physical conditions affecting catchability
  • Trout habitat survey and habitat rehabilitation
  • Expert witness on effects of flow and water quality change on trout and salmon

Cawthron scientists have also provided expert evidence in most of New Zealand's high profile resource consents, in planning and in national water conservation hearings involving salmonid, and water allocation and quality.

For more information contact John Hayes.

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+64 3 548 2319