Trout facts

Trout and other sports fish provide significant recreational, health, environmental and economic benefits to New Zealand as a whole.FN 1 Card image for Fish 2019

  • More than 110 thousand people buy trout fishing licences every year
  • Anglers are from all walks of New Zealand life
  • Fishing puts food on the table of average Kiwi family
  • Fishing provides relaxation and exercise, contributing to physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Trout are an iconic species which provides economic, cultural and health benefit
  • Trout benefit the environment through Fish & Game’s advocacy work


FGNZ NC LakeColeridgeComp35

  • Trout provide a significant economic boost to regional economies.
  • Trout contribute significantly to tourism revenue, international and domestic 
  • Cawthron Institute put the value of trout angling in 1991 at up to a quarter of a billion dollars – that’s $400 million today. But Cawthron says that value may even be higher in 2018 as the trout industry has grown significantly since 1991  
  • New Zealand’s brown trout fishing is regarded as one of the world’s best, attracting big spending international anglers. 
  • New Zealand is one of the “must fish” destinations on these wealthy anglers’ itineraries.
  • An industry has developed to service the hunger to fish for trout – guides, accommodation, lodges and helicopter services all provide jobs
  • Many of these jobs are in regions where unemployment is higher
  • Business activity by sports retail stores and fishing tackle manufacturers provides jobs and a boost to the economy 


  • Trout need clean water – native fish need clean water
  • Trout are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to spotlighting environmental harm caused by human activity
  • Falling trout populations and dirty streams and rivers have raised alarm bells about the impact of industrial farming
  • Money from trout licences has been used to fight for clean water and protect the environment
  • Fish & Game has spent millions of dollars raised from trout licence sales on scientific research and legal battles to protect the environment
  • Trout dollars have protected rivers and lakes through Water Conservation Orders – 12 out of 15 existing Water Conservation Orders have been secured by Fish & Game
  • This work and advocacy protects migratory galaxids
  • Recent electric fishing in Marlborough’s Waihopai and Branch rivers shows Canterbury galaxids and brown and rainbow trout living side by side – the key difference is that these rivers are not subject to intensive farming
  • Fish & Game’s statutory responsibility to manage trout has made it this country’s most active, committed and successful environmental organisations.  This benefits the environment and native species.


  • Despite public perception, experts say that the galaxid species comprising 80% of the whitebait fishery (inanga) are not endangered. The more threatened whitebait species such as Giant and shortjawed kokopu are primarily threatened through habitat loss and pollution
  • Human activity is the real threat to native fish
  • Research shows a 50-90% reduction on native fish distribution within their study range, due to “intensive agricultural land use downstream”
  • Recent research also now shows that once dairy farms make up more than 50% of land use within a catchment, neither native fish nor trout can survive within the catchment’s streams. This harmful environmental degradation can be caused by industrial farming, sedimentation, draining of wetlands and inadequate sewage treatment


SI An anglers El Dorado... the Tekapo canals can yield monsters.

  • Trout have been in New Zealand for more than 150 years
  • They are deemed to be a desirable ‘naturalised’ introduced species protected by New Zealand law. 
  • Trout’s desirable species classification stems from its cultural, economic and recreational value.
  • Long tradition of trout fishing in New Zealand
  • Trout provide food, recreation and connection with the outdoors with physical and mental health benefits
  • The value of trout is legally recognised through statutory protection under the Conservation Act and Freshwater Fisheries Regulations.  

To tell your MP what you think click here

Have your say!