Māoris owners back commercial trout farm on NZ Lake – could be first ever

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New Zealand is the only country in the world that specifically bans trout farming. However, the Tūwharetoa – the Māoris owners of a lake would like to see one very soon.

The Māori owners of a lake under Mount Ruapehu, New Zealand are backing an attempt to allow trout farming, reports Waateanews.

In December, SalmonBusiness reported how former salmon farmer Clive Barker is petitioning Parliament to change the laws on restrictions on the farming and sale of trout. Parliament’s primary production committee is currently considering that petition.

Though they have been farmed for recreational purposes for the last 134 years.Though Barker

Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust director Tiwana Tibble said the trust’s Tūwharetoa owners are looking closely at the debate, as their lake could be suitable for aquaculture.

On LinkedIn, Tibble wrote: “In 1972, Duncan McIntyre lost his national party seat in the Hawkes bay because of the then powerful lobby group of Fish and Game who opposed his resolve to introduce trout farming. He was a very popular Minister of Maori Affairs during the time of debate in the 1970s re Maori land alienation, and also a past commander of the 28 Maori battalions, who was awarded a DSO. I appear before the Primary Production Select Committer tomorrow in support of a petition to allow trout farming.”

He added that: “The case of Lake Rotoaira Forest Trust whom I represent is: 1) that forty years later the world has changed and that lobby group no longer has the ability to overpower reason. 2) That NZ must get in step with the rest of the world and allow trout farming – Sealords farms trout in Tasmania but can’t in NZ; and 3) that the opportunities being missed in the regions and by iwi in terms of increased GDP and jobs cannot be allowed to continue.”

Barker has set up an initiative called Trout New Zealand to support new farms all across the country (starting with the Bay of Plenty, on the northern coast of New Zealand’s North Island) through the Regional Aquaculture Organisation (RAO). The group said that they “conservatively estimated the value of trout farming to the New Zealand economy to be an expansion in real GDP of up to $48 million by 2030.”