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But by 4pm yesterday their problem was gone - snapped up by people eager for a bargain.
Selling salmon at a remarkably cheap $40 for 10 fish, the salmon company at times could barely keep up with demand.
General manager Janine Tulloch said about 1000 customers queued for up to an hour and a-half as she and other staff transferred fish by hand.
Some took just the 10 fish, others spoken to by the Otago Daily Times took up to 150.
One man bought 100 for elderly people in Fairlie, a woman bought fish for family in Franz Josef, a family from Christchurch camped out overnight so as not to miss out, a man drove from Oamaru for a chilly bin full and a group of young Wanaka people took 50 for their freezer.
The company farms a million salmon at two sites, one in the Tekapo canal, which is downstream of maintenance work being carried out by Genesis Energy. The canal leaks, and over two 14-week stints this summer and next, sections will be ''dewatered'' while the canal is lined with PVC.
Ms Tulloch said the 1-year-old fish sold over the weekend could have been moved to other sites, however, it had been decided to hold the one-off public sale.