New Zealand salmon farmers “at the mercy of mother nature ” as heatwave approaches

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Oz heatwave may bring hot weather to NZ as early as the weekend.

The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa) are predicting temperatures to rise across the country next week, impacting sea-surface temperatures, according to Stuff.

The extreme heatwave that is cooking Australia may hit New Zealand with temperatures in some places set to pass 35C.

Last year New Zealand King Salmon was hit hard by a “significantly higher” mortality-rate with chief executive Grant Rosewarne branding 2018 an “absolute outlier, the worst ever” in 30 years of temperature tracking.

Rosewarne told the publication temperatures were so far this year were closer to average.

“They [water temperatures] are normal or slightly elevated … but way down on what they were last year”, Rosewarne said.

Last year, 20 per cent of the King Salmon stock did not survive, Rosewarne said.

To put the loss in perspective, “in the wild situation, it’s generally 1 or 2 per cent which would survive … it’s a complete reverse situation”, Rosewarne said.

“It’s [water temperature] satisfactory up to 17 degrees. In excess of 17 degrees there’s some level of stress involved,” he said.

Temperatures at the King Salmon farm in Pelorus was recorded at 17.7 degrees on Thursday and 17.1C in Queen Charlotte Sounds on January 11.

Marine Farm Association president Jonathan Large told the site that farmers would be keeping an eye on the weather as it warmed up over the next few weeks. “It’s obviously nothing that we can control. We’re at the mercy of mother nature and what she dishes up each year,” he said.

New Zealand King Salmon is in talks with the government to relocate farms to cooler, deeper waters within the Sounds.