'Positive' talks on hatchery

Roxburgh Dam. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Roxburgh Dam. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The prospect of a proposed salmon hatchery at Roxburgh Dam remains unclear, despite "positive" negotiations taking place this week.

Contact Energy and the Otago Fish & Game council are working through a negotiation and consenting process for the project.

Earlier this year, councillors expressed their intention to push for a hatchery to be built.

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.

Contact community relations and projects manager Neil Gillespie said "nothing is committed to yet".

Mr Gillespie first presented to the council in February.

Contact and the council gathered for a tour of the proposed site before the council meeting in Roxburgh on Thursday.

Representatives of Ngai Tahu were also present.

This week's council meeting agenda stated Mr Gillespie was to present the hatchery design to the council at its pre-meeting field trip.

The proposed hatchery site inspection and update was not open to the public or media.

"It is part of a negotiation between the two parties [Contact and the council] and there are some sensitivities around that," council chief executive Ian Hadland said.

However, Mr Hadland told the Otago Daily Times following the meeting the tour had been "very positive".

The meeting agenda stated Contact staff had proposed a review of the Lower Clutha Sports Fish Management Plan - negotiated as part of the consent conditions for the dam operation - and its "ongoing relevance and application" as it was now a decade old.

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