29 Jan 2010

Push for commercial trout fishing continues

10:00 am on 29 January 2010

Pressure is growing on the government to lift a ban on commercial trout farming.

Federated Farmers says trout farming has the potential to be a huge export earner and is calling for the the Conservation Act to be reviewed.

The organisation, which is campaigning for a review of the law, says it has already fielded queries from local and foreign investors wanting to set up trout farms in New Zealand.

Norman Moe, a salmon farming consultant and former trout farmer in Chile, says commercial trout production could be worth at least $US50 million a year.

Eric Barratt, managing director of New Zealand's largest listed fishing company, Sanford, says the clean, sheltered waters of the Marlborough Sounds or Stewart Island would be ideal for trout farming.

Fish and Game spokesman Ric Cullinane, says not only disease, but poaching would also endanger the wild trout population and New Zealand's image.

But Federated Farmer's president Don Nicholson says potential for disease is not real, nor is the threat of poaching.

The Government has said it intends to keep the status quo, though a Parliamentary select committee will review acquaculture legislation later this year.