The hard work of many fishermen has finally paid off with the
first significant return of salmon to Dunedin's Water of
A group of about 17 salmon was spotted in the waterway
yesterday and about 50 people watched as fishermen wrangled
them into a tank.
A great cheer went up when the first was netted, followed
quickly by a second and third.
Dunedin Community Salmon Trust chairman Brett Bensemann said
salmon smolt had been released further up the Leith and it
was the first time the fish had returned "in the numbers that
"It's absolutely fantastic. The salmon have been running
since September, but in the last couple of months it's been
phenomenal in the harbour - the best it's ever been - and now
this really is going to be salmon city, simple as that.
"It's great that the fish are acknowledging the environment
that we've released them in.
"With all the hard work that's gone into re-establishing the
Sawyers Bay hatchery, and all the work from both the
supporters club of the salmon trust, and the Otago salmon
anglers and fishing clubs, we have now established a source
of recreational benefit for families in the Dunedin and Otago
The salmon were taken to the Sawyers Bay hatchery where they
would be used for breeding.
Otago Fish and Game ranger Steve Dixon said the fish would be
kept for a month and have their eggs stripped before being
returned to the Leith in May.
He believed the fish were about two or three years old, but
said research could be carried out to determine where they
were bred and where they had been.
"It is possible some of them are the first release here, but
they could be naturally spawned salmon."