Yesterday Fish & Game North Canterbury staff and volunteers salvaged 150 salmon from Trustpower’s Highbank Power Station.
Fish & Game officer Steve Terry said that the salmon entered the tailrace because the volume of water released from the power station imitates a significant braid in the Rakaia where it joins the other channels. Salmon are attracted to this large volume of water and mistakenly swim up the tailrace on their way to the high country spawning streams, only to come to a dead end at the power station.
Mr Terry said that although Trustpower installed a salmon exclusion barrier two years ago this was not functioning as well as Fish & Game had hoped. Fish & Game will be meeting with Trustpower to discuss how the system can be improved.
A large team of volunteers including two divers positioned a net to trap the fish which will be released into the Rakaia above the power station. The salvage was able to be carried out because the power station was closed down due to works being conducted by an irrigation company associated with the Highbank scheme.
Whilst every attempt was made to get all the salmon out, some remained under the turbines and were unable to be retrieved.
Mr Terry wanted to remain anglers that there is no fishing in the Highbank tailrace.