Declining wild salmon population prompts forum
Fish & Game is organising a two day symposium,Turning the Tide, to discuss the South Island’s troubled wild salmon fishery.
The salmon – known as the King, Chinook or Quinnat – is found mainly on the West Coast, Canterbury, Otago and Marlborough.
As good as you'll catch...Raikaia River.
The species spends much of its life at sea and is highly valued by freshwater anglers, who target the fish during its migratory spawning runs up many of the South Island’s major rivers.
The salmon season draws anglers from overseas and nationally from all walks of life and all corners of the country.
But in recent years, the numbers of salmon spawning has declined and Fish & Game is organising a two day public symposium in November to discuss the issue.
A Kaikoura beauty.
Symposium organiser Matthew Hall says declining salmon populations are causing increasing concern among anglers and many have called for a summit meeting.
“As a keen salmon angler myself, I have seen the decline in salmon numbers over the decades.
"Where anglers could once each catch plenty of salmon every season, the runs have dwindled to a shadow of their former glory.
“Everyone with a stake in the fishery should attend the symposium and explore what is contributing to the decline,” Mr Hall says.
The Rakaia River competition draws hundreds of anglers.
The symposium is being organised by Fish & Game’s two Canterbury regions, Central South Island and North Canterbury.
The North Canterbury region’s chair Trevor Isitt says it will provide a real opportunity for concerned anglers to have their say.
“There is a real desire by anglers to get to the bottom of what is causing the runs of wild salmon to drop from their historic highs. While there is a lot of speculation and a wide range of theories, the exact reasons remain elusive.
“We want the symposium to help develop a solid and realistic action plan which will see the magnificent runs of salmon restored to their past glory,” Mr Isitt says.
Overseas and New Zealand experts are being invited to speak at the symposium but Matthew Hall says it is important salmon anglers also attend and be given a say in the fisheries future.
“Having anglers at the symposium is vital as their experience and observations are valuable,” Mr Hall says.
Those attending will be asked to pay a registration fee set as a contribution towards the costs while Fish & Game will also help with the expenses involved.
The symposium is being held at the Hotel Ashburton on the weekend of November 11 and 12.