The nursery door has been opened and all the children have gone. On Monday 23rd, all 55,000 fry at the hatchery were released back into McKinnon's creek starting them on their journey to sea and subsequently back to the Rangitata river in 2 years time (hopefully). We did keep around 200 back which may become locally kept broodstock for the future depending on where we can keep them. They are fine at the moment in one of the raceways. A big thanks to all those involved in their care including the weekend cleaning teams. The cleaning roster for the rest of the year has now been cancelled.
A sad day for the Rangitata River.
The granting of a further 10m3 of water for irrigation purposes from the Rangitata river WILL have a profound effect on the river despite what all the so called "experts" said in the submission process. And shame on you Environment Canterbury for once again disregarding the overwhelming environmental evidence and allowing this decision to be made.
It is with absolute pleasure we congratulate Mathew Hall for his award in the Queen's Honours list for 2018 for services to conservation and fishing
Mr Matthew Hall has been a member of the Central South Island (CSI) Fish and Game Council since its inception in 1991 and has twice been Chairman.
Mr Hall was a member of the CSI’s Steering Committee in developing the draft Salmon Management Plan and is CSI’s advocate to the Salmon Enhancement Trust. He is currently a member of the Fish and Game New Zealand Council and was Chairman from 2011 to 2012. He was inaugural Chairman of the Canterbury Water Management Strategy Ashburton Zone Committee from 2010 to 2014. In this role he led a process of community consultation in the Hinds catchment and led the committee through the establishment of the first Zone Implementation Programme and later an addendum to instruct the development of a regulatory plan. In 2017 he organised and co-chaired the Salmon Symposium in Ashburton, which attracted national interest and international speakers. He has been a foundation member since 1981 of Save the Rivers Mid-Canterbury. He has made significant contributions towards establishing Water Conservation Orders on the Rakaia and Rangitata Rivers. He is Secretary and Life Member of South Rangitata Reserve Inc. Mr Hall was a foundation member of Ashburton Rangitata Instream Users Group.
Well done Mathew.
The Hatchery group is assisting CSI Fish & Game in this program to identify any adult salmon that may be related to the original fish donated by this North American Indian Tribe many years ago. Spawned salmon in the Rakaia and Rangitata catchments are sampled to check a match up in their genetic code. A number of our group have so far participated and from all reports its been a worthwhile exercise. The program will run until September.
Many thanks to the 30 plus persons who came out to the hatchery to help with the fin clipping. We clipped approx. 30% of our smolt (20,000) and the day was a great success. The new return system worked a treat and the weather also played its part.
Work has continued at the hatchery and the core group of workers have been busy upgrading feeders, installing new vacuum pump, cleaning all the equipment, preparing for fin clipping, putting shelves etc in garage etc etc.
As most of our readers will already know, the 2017/18 season for returning adult Salmon to the hatchery was nothing short of a disaster. Only 3 confirmed fish returned and these were let to spawn naturally in McKinnon's creek. There is evidence of at least 2 salmon reds in the stream. Reasons are unclear as to the poor return but it appears it is common to all rivers on the East coast of the South Island. The good news is that following on from the Salmon Symposium in Ashburton, a sea run Salmon committee has been set up under Martin Taylor (new CEO of Fish & Game) and includes our own Alan Brooks and Mathew Hall. Already a number of decisions have been made and we will keep up with them when they filter down. What pleases us is the high level decision and agreement that the Salmon fishery is in crisis and that doing nothing is not an option. Watch this space!
Latest info from Fish & Game is that about 500 Salmon reds have been counted in the Rangitata headwaters. Not great numbers especially when one realizes that the majority of resulting smolt will end up in the RDR system.
The "experimental" fish ladder had been built and it remains to be seen if fish will use it to enter the hatchery at the adult pens. We hope the a good flow of water is maintained in McKinnon's creek to give the system a good chance of working.
Some notable happenings from the start of the year.
We have had 2 notable donations already this year. The Rangitata Good Bastards group raised $2,000.00 through their raffle over Xmas and The North Rangitata Hutholders donated $2,000.00 to the hatchery from their members. We are extremely grateful for their support.
The hatchery continues to go from strength to strength thanks to all those who give their time and effort to make the venture a success. The hatchery feeders have all been overhauled with new motors and operating system. The new vacuum pump is a success and will make cleaning easier for the teams.
A new cleaning roster was published. New members are wanted to make up another team for the Sunday morning duty.
The Rangitata river has been across on the north side this year with not a good lead in to McKinnon's creek (hatchery) for any migrating fish. A digger was employed to divert a few cusecs of water down a dry stream to flow past the hatchery creek and thus make it easier for access to the hatchery. No fish have shown up as yet.
Some photos of the 4.5 cubic meters of concrete placed today for the new garage, for between the containers and some pads at the hatchery site. Great work by Steven Brook's building and his team plus our normal helpers of Dennis, Phil, Robert, Rayleen, Jackie, Rex, and Dave.