A national taonga
October 10 marks exactly 150 years since the successful introduction of the brown trout to New Zealand waterways.
During that period of time the species has found its habitat niche alongside other freshwater fauna and has populated most clean rivers and lakes in the country thanks to the efforts of Fish and Game, and its forerunners, and funding from the country’s fishing licence-holders.
However, the brown trout is most truly at home in the South Island. It may be that there is nowhere else in the world that the brown trout has thrived as well as it has here.
The huge number of tourist anglers who visit each year have become key to the summer economy of many small South Island towns. Of even more importance, angling for brown trout has become a treasured recreational pursuit for tens of thousands of New Zealanders, thus contributing to the physical, social and emotional health of our communities.
A decline in the population of brown trout is inevitable, however, unless we all address the water quality concerns which featured during the recent election debates.
Locally, plans by the Marlborough District Council to enhance the water quality of the Taylor River are to be welcomed. That will also sustain an accessible angling resource for local youth especially. It will also provide passers-by with the occasional glimpse of a wild fish in a clear, flowing stream. Long may high quality freshwater ecosystems in New Zealand continue to support this splendid fish species.
Although introduced, the brown trout has truly become a national taonga.
Secretary, Marlborough Freshwater Anglers’ Club