A salmon farm on the Tekapo hydro canal is preparing for a
''one-in-50 year'' storm, when the canal closes in January to
allow Genesis Energy to carry out repairs to leaking sections
of the waterway.
Mount Cook Alpine Salmon will have to de-stock some of the
500 metric tonnes of salmon farmed in the canal, which links
the Tekapo A and B powerhouses owned by Genesis Energy, when
sections of the canal are closed for 14 weeks to allow a $125
million repair programme to begin.
Mount Cook Alpine Salmon chief executive Geoff Matthews said
the salmon farm would have to move stock, just as any other
farmer would when faced with an approaching storm.
''We are farmers, and we don't suffer any other weather
events. I liken this to a once-in-50-year storm coming, but
we have had two years to prepare for it so we're not
whingeing too much."
The company is in the process of finalising a $20 million
expansion programme on to two other North Otago canals, and
Mr Matthews said the company was fortunate it now had
facilities on the Ohau and Ruataniwha canals and was not
reliant on the Tekapo canal alone.
''Naturally, at that time of the year, we would harvest all
our big fish out anyway, because they naturally die by
mid-February of their third year. So all of our big fish will
come out and we are also putting the new smolt that will come
in on other canals that we farm."
He said remaining stock in the Tekapo canal would be spread
out with reduced feed.
The water in the canal would also be aerated and oxygenated,
he said. Although it was ''not a cheap exercise'', it would
not result in a loss of production, he said.
''Obviously, it's something that we would have a much easier