Yesterday 15,000 King salmon smolt were released into West Coast Lakes. And that signals good news ahead for the 2014 season - as the mature King Salmon swim up the rivers to spawn, offering a prized catch for anglers.
The smolt was brought to Westland by New Zealand King Salmon as part of an agreement to supply Fish & Game New Zealand with fish from its Waiau Hatchery near Rotherham in North Canterbury.
Salmon are released to enhance existing wild salmon populations. This is a necessary move as the spawning ground for wild salmon can be devastated by extreme weather events like flash floods.
When the salmon return to the West Coast rivers, they will be between about 6 and 11lbs in weight, lovely size for sports fishers. The fish were loaded and shipped to the following places yesterday:
1. 7am Load the tanker at Waiau Hatchery with 15,000 salmon at Rotherham (Jon Bailey is NZ King Salmon freshwater manager based in Takaka, tel: 029 289 7037)
2. Drive to Lake Haupiri (Grey River) Boat ramp for first 5000 fish release. Access via Lewis Pass, Reefton, turnoff on Nelson Creek Road at Ngahere
3. Drive to Lake Kaniere via Hokitika for second 5000 fish release.
4. Drive South to Lake Ianthe (Wanganui River) for third 2500 fish release.
5. Drive south to Lake Mapourika (Oakarito River) for final 2500 fish release.
NZ King Salmon and Fish & Game also released 5000 fish into both Lake Haupiri and Lake Mapourika in 2011.
King Salmon is one of five species of Pacific salmon. It is New Zealand's largest freshwater fish, and the largest species in the salmon family. The breed was introduced into New Zealand rivers on the South Island's east coast in Canterbury and Otago more than 100 years ago.
While the King salmon is now scarce along the Californian Pacific coast, it has thrived in New Zealand waters. Established spawning runs are found in the Rangitata, Opihi, Ashburton, Rakaia, Waimakariri, Hurunui and Waiau rivers.
About New Zealand King Salmon
New Zealand King Salmon (NZKS) sustainably farms King salmon from five sea farms in the crisp, clear waters of the South Island's Marlborough Sounds. NZKS invests heavily in research and development and is recognised worldwide for its best in class King salmon farming practises. It is firmly committed to the sustainability and viability of a renewable resource with its success centred on maintaining the purity of the waters in which the salmon are farmed. King salmon has the highest natural content of healthy Omega-3 oils important for life and good health and which can help to maintain a healthy heart.
* Is NZ's largest fin fish aquaculture producer employing more than 455 skilled workers in New Zealand and a further 10 in Australia, the US and Japan.
* Currently produces 8,500 metric tonnes of King salmon annually accounting for 70 per cent of New Zealand's salmon production.
* Is the world's biggest farmer and supplier of the King salmon variety with 55 per cent of the global market and earns around NZ$60 million a year in foreign exchange.
* Has clear market advantages including great tasting salmon from a sustainable, disease-free, chemical-free, clean growing environment, fresh-to-market distribution, vertical integration and supply chain product traceability.
NZ King Salmon brands Regal, Southern Ocean and Seasmoke are available nationwide from supermarkets (NZ only), fish suppliers and good delicatessens. For recipes and serving suggestions visit www.regalsalmon.co.nz