Home' Fish and Game : September 2016 Contents AVIEMORE SPAWNING RACE
HE HAKATARAMEA RIVER, A COVETED JEWEL
for anglers, is synonymous with trout fishing and is
historically important as the birth place of Chinook
salmon in New Zealand. In 1901, from a purpose-built
hatchery in the valley, the first successful releases from
salmon ova imported from North America began the
South Island salmon fishery. The River supports diverse
fish populations with four introduced species of sports
fish- brook char, brown trout, rainbow trout and Chinook
salmon and is likely to be the only New Zealand river
with such a salmonid assemblage.
The Hakataramea River was previously known for
its brown trout fishing; however, in more recent times
the population of rainbow trout has become a major
attraction, especially early in the fishing season. The
Lower Waitaki River rainbow trout fishery is believed
to be totally dependent on spawning that occurs in the
Hakataramea, Maerewhenua and Awakino rivers, of
which the Hakataramea is the most important.
The viability and success of the ‘Haka’ fishery is
dependent on good flows and water quality and these
attributes are currently jeopardised due to the river
being over-allocated to irrigation. Over-allocation causes
un-natural increases in the duration of low flows. Low
flows and decreased habitat give rise to lethal water
temperatures, no holding water or escape cover,
increased predation by fish eating birds, barriers to
migration and excessive algae growth.
The ability for salmon to enter the Hakataramea
and migrate upstream to spawn in their birth river
is compromised by low river flows as these large fish
require a good volume of water to navigate upstream.
The lack of good flows year after year has all but
extinguished the Hakataramea salmon run.
Fish & Game addresses water quality and quantity
in a number of ways. We engage and submit on
SPAWNING TROUT CAN BE SEEN USING THE REFURBISHED SPAWNING RACE
HE BUILDING OF AVIEMORE DAM IN 1968
could have been the end of the Lake Waitaki
fishery as it blocked migrating trout from
CENTRAL SOUTH ISLAND
reaching their traditional spawning streams.
However, thanks to collaboration between
the Waitaki Valley Acclimatisation Society (now
known as Central South Island Fish & Game) and
several government departments, the first man-
made trout spawning race in New Zealand was
constructed as part of the Aviemore Dam at the
top end of Lake Waitaki.
Fish & Game maintains and monitors the
race annually but after almost 50 years of
safeguarding generations of trout for Lake
Waitaki anglers to catch, it was time for the
race’s first major refurbishment.
This work involved bringing in heavy
machinery to remove pest plants which had
encroached and narrowed the race, sieving and
de-silting the existing gravels and introducing
450 cubic metres of new, screened gravels.
Meridian Energy contributed over $30,000
to the race refurbishment project, which has
restored the full amount of spawning area
available to Lake Waitaki trout. The refurbished
race now has the potential to raise the offspring
of around 2000 adult trout. In two to three years,
when these fish reach maturity, anglers should
catch more fish.
The first spawning survey after the
refurbishment, in June 2016, revealed 445 mostly
brown trout actively spawning in the race.
BY ANGELA CHRISTENSEN,
BY JAYDE COUPER, FISH & GAME OFFICER
individual consent applications, present submissions
and evidence at hearings for plan changes, and are
actively involved in on-the-ground enhancement and
Over the last 18 months, Fish & Game has dedicated
a substantial amount of resources to oppose a resource
consent application to take water for irrigation from the
Hakataramea River. After the consent application was
declined at an ECan hearing last year, the applicant
appealed the decision to the Environment Court. Fish &
Game took a full case before the Judge with the hearing
spanning four days. We now await the Judge’s decision.
While a win in this case would save the river from
further abstraction, it is not a fix to the overall problem
of not enough water to maintain a healthy and viable
Fish & Game has recently lodged a submission to
Plan Change 5 to the Land and Water Regional Plan,
which specifically addresses the need to maintain and
enhance water quality for the Waitaki sub-region. We
will present evidence at the hearing later this year.
Additionally, the Waitaki Catchment Water Allocation
Regional Plan (which looks specifically at water quantity)
is set to be reviewed towards the end of the year, and
you can be assured that Fish & Game will again be
actively involved to keep the Hakataramea flowing.
KEEPING THE HAKATARAMEA FLOWING
CHRIS DYSON ON A SUCCESSFUL DAY IN THE HAKATARAMEA
Central South Island Region
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26/07/16 4:25 pm
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