Thirty years' service to the salmon aquaculture industry

Thirty years’ service to the salmon aquaculture industry

From egg to farm and angler (Photos: Nelson Boustead):

Lindsay Hawke with experimental egg incubators.

A net full of salmon fry.

Weighing smolt for loading.

Loading smolt into the tanker.

Smolt delivery into the High Country Salmon farm.

Anglers benefit from the wild salmon released into the Waimakariri (top) and Kaiapoi rivers.

Each year NIWA is the starting point for millions of dollars worth of high-quality farmed salmon and provides strong support for New Zealand’s salmon sport fishery. For the past 30 years, NIWA and its predecessors have supplied salmon for the aquaculture industry and for enhancing wild fisheries. In the last year alone, our Silverstream Research Station, near Christchurch, supplied over 800 000 young salmon to farms and wild fisheries. About a fifth of the 7000 tonnes of salmon produced every year in New Zealand are hatched and raised to the smolt stage by our skilled staff at Silverstream.

Salmon fry and smolt are also raised at Silverstream for release into the wild; these infusions help restock sport fisheries, which have been in decline in many areas of the South Island. The impact of these releases may be quite significant at a time when the wild salmon runs have crashed to 5% of their former levels. Over the last year, NIWA has released 90 000 young salmon into the Kaiapoi and Waimakariri rivers for North Canterbury Fish and Game, a further 155 000 young salmon into Lake Coleridge, and over 520 larger salmon for put-and-take fisheries in lakes near Christchurch.

As well as producing salmon smolt, we have a long record of salmon research, including studies for aquaculture, ocean ranching, population dynamics, and fisheries enhancement. NIWA staff introduced the development of triploid and female salmon stocks to help manage production problems associated with the fish reaching sexual maturity before they reached market size. More recently, we have helped farmers improve their production efficiency through using artificial lighting to delay maturation in fast-growing fish. Current research with industry focuses on novel ways to improve production and sustainability, and planned research with agencies such as Fish and Game will develop effective enhancement methods to help ensure the future of our sport fisheries.

For further information, contact:
Nelson Boustead, 0-3-343 7831, n.boustead@niwa.co.nz