12 Jan 2010

Trout farming ban should be lifted, says Fed Farmers

6:59 pm on 12 January 2010

Federated Farmers is calling for a ban on trout farming to be lifted to allow participation in what it calls a lucrative export industry.

At present, only salmon, oysters and mussels are permitted to be harvested via aquaculture.

Federated Farmers has made a submission for the ban to be lifted as part of a Ministry of Fisheries review of aquaculture's regulatory regime.

The organisation's president, Don Nicholson, says it is bizarre that trout fishing is reserved as a sport and cannot be used as an export earner.

He says trout farming is big business in countries such as Norway, which he says earns $500 million a year from the industry.

Fish and Game director Bryce Johnson says if the ban was lifted there would be a risk of bringing disease into New Zealand should extra fish stocks need to be imported for farming.

Mr Johnson says Federated Farmers should focus on getting existing agriculture to "clean up its environmental act".