Hatchery may not be viable financially

Monty Wright
Monty Wright
Otago Fish & Game say plans for a proposed salmon hatchery for the Roxburgh dam have stalled and may not come to pass.

The Otago Fish & Game council and Contact Energy have been in talks on the project and the council had previously said they were ‘‘prepared to fight’’ for the hatchery to be built.

However, council chairman Monty Wright said there was a possibility the idea would be shelved and he was open to other avenues.

‘‘We’re looking at different ways of doing things.’’

The agenda for the latest council meeting said the Roxburgh hatchery proposal was on hold at present while alternatives to salmon enhancement in the lower Clutha were explored.

Mr Wright said in his latest chairman’s report the option had ‘‘stalled because of poor salmon returns to all east coast rivers’’.

A significant decline of salmon numbers both sea-run in rivers, and land-locked in lakes, had been a talking point for councillors during discussions on the project.

Mr Wright told the Otago Daily Times if a hatchery was to be built, it had to be financially viable.

‘‘The hatchery is a pretty good idea.

‘‘But if you’re going to release thousands of fish and you’re not going to get any back, you’re tipping money down the drain.’’

Contact community relations and projects manager Neil Gillespie said the hatchery concept was only one part of its Sports Fish Management Plan which was to be reviewed.

‘‘There’s a number of things in the consent condition — the hatchery was only part of it.’’

‘‘It’s about reviewing that existing plan and seeing what else can we do to give effect to that consent condition.’’

adam.burns@odt.co.nz

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