New Bacteria Cause Salmon Farm Deaths in NZ – Could Destroy NZ Wild Trout Fishery
NZ Outdoors Party
“Those at the Bay of Plenty Regional Council who are pushing for commercial trout farming to be legalised would do well to heed the recent press release from the Ministry of Primary Industries on fish farm deaths due to bacteria and stress from intensive farming conditions” says David Haynes, Freshwater Spokesman for the NZ Outdoors Party.
Higher than normal fish deaths at salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds since 2012 led MPI to undertake testing which revealed two previously undetected bacteria as well as Tenacibaculum maritimum, the latter also discovered to be in New Zealand in 2012 and known to cause fatalities in many fish species, including trout. In 1988 it near wiped out the Atlantic salmon farms in Tasmania across tens of kilometres of water.
“Anglers have tirelessly tried to tell central and local government of the many dangers of trout farming since 1972 but it seems those bent on profiteering from trout have short memories and selective hearing” Haynes commented. “Fish farms are breeding ground for disease, the intensive rearing conditions create stress which in turn makes the fish more susceptible to disease and as soon as one fish has the disease, as sure as eggs is eggs the rest will quickly become infected. The real kicker here is the very high risk that wild migratory fish in proximity to the fish farms may also become victims to the lethal bacteria”.
The NZ Outdoors Party is opposed to any form of trout farming in NZ and Mr Haynes commented that should the BOP Regional Council continue to push for trout farming the party would make it an election issue engaging with the 100,000 licence holders who buy trout fishing licences.
Marlborough Sounds is situated at the mouths of a number of rivers which have migratory sea run trout and salmon, such the the Wairau, Pelorus and Kaituna. A Fish & Game study into migratory fish movements showed that trout can travel up to 80 kilometres up and down a river. “An infected sea run trout could pass on bacteria to every trout in the river system and destroy it in one season” said Haynes. “Is the financial profit for a few worth the risk of destroying our world-class recreational fishery for 100,000 anglers?” he asked.
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