A na­tional taonga

Marlborough Express - - COMMENT&OPINION -

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.

Bar­rie Clark,

Sec­re­tary, Marl­bor­ough Fresh­wa­ter An­glers’ Club

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