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Otago Harbor Salmon Future Seems to be Grim

Otago Harbor Salmon Future Trying Grim

By Allan Burgess

The Otago Harbor salmon fishing scene seems grim. Salmon returns are actually so poor the annual contest has been canceled indefinitely. The underlying downside is that the comparatively shallow water in Otago Harbor is simply too heat for salmon over the summer time months.

The salmon are simply not coming into the harbor on account of rising water temperatures in response to the Otago Salmon Anglers Affiliation president Colin Williams. Situations for salmon at sea are likely not ultimate both.

Salmon are cold-water fish. Their optimum temperature vary for quick development is between 12 and 14 levels Celsius.

As we have seen with King Salmon’s farming operations within the outer Marlborough sounds over the previous few summers, as soon as the water temperature will get as much as 18 and 19 or extra, the salmon begin dying in important numbers.

The issue is made a lot worse when these larger temperatures are sustained for any time. Extended water temperatures above 20 levels Celsius are deadly for trout and salmon.

All you could catch a salmon in Otago Harbor is a rod and reel, together with a wholesome dose of persistence. You may even journey to the wharves on a bus or bicycle.

“At 16 levels, they survive. At 18 levels, the enzymes that assist them digest meals begin to die off. If water temperatures are at 18 levels for a couple of weeks, the salmon’s immune system breaks down. They get sick. They die.” Quote from Salmon farmers search cooler waters as local weather adjustmentsby Marc Daalder at

New Zealand King Salmon farms reported important losses from their operations within the outer Marlborough Sounds over the summer time of 2021-22. Water within the sea cages was simply too heat for salmon to outlive.

Hotter water accommodates much less oxygen and better ranges of dissolved toxins.

In accordance with a report on Radio New Zealand dated twenty ninth of March 2022, “between December and February, vehicles from Havelock and Picton made 160 journeys to the Bluegums Landfill in Blenheim, dumping 1269 tons of lifeless fish and waste from New Zealand King Salmon farms.” Clearly, that very unhappy state of affairs is simply not sustainable.

View across part of the inner Otago Harbour.  Large king salmon could be caught without leaving the city of Dunedin.
View throughout a part of the interior Otago Harbour. Giant king salmon may very well be caught with out leaving the town of Dunedin.

When sea temperatures are too excessive for Quinnat salmon absolutely anything you attempt to do to boost the fishery goes to lead to failure.

A rise in water temperatures of just some levels could make all of the distinction to the survival of salmon that are cold-water fish.

Salmon fishing has been an necessary a part of the native Dunedin fishing scene during the last three a long time. It began again in 1985 (37 years in the past in 2022) when ICI Watties, a New Zealand meals manufacturing firm specializing in canning launched hundreds of quinnat salmon smolt right into a river close to Dunedin.

A few years later large salmon have been being caught frequently from the wharves in Otago Harbour. A brand new fishery was born!

Salmon fishing in Otago Harbour.  Note the number of rods.
Salmon fishing in Otago Harbour. Notice the variety of rods.

Otago Harbor on the East Coast of New Zealand’s South Island, and Vancouver, Canada, are the one two cities on this planet the place massive salmon might be caught proper in the course of city! Otago Harbor actually was a powerful salmon fishery. I say “was” as a result of clearly it is time now seems to be up – a minimum of within the brief time period!

The explanation the salmon fishing competitors was run was to lift cash for the 60,000 smolts that have been launched into the harbor every year at a price of about $30,000.

Dunedin Harbor was a put-and-take salmon fishery. It needed to be frequently restocked by the Otago Department of the Salmon Anglers Affiliation and the native Neighborhood Salmon Belief as a way to stay viable. This work was carried out by tireless volunteers.

A particular observe of thanks should even be made to the numerous native and nationwide companies that contributed precious prizes for the annual fishing competitors.

Three anglers with a salmon each taken trolling on Otago Harbour.  You don't need to travel far from the boat ramp to catch a good fish.
Three anglers with a salmon every taken trolling on Otago Harbour. You need not journey removed from the boat ramp to catch a great fish.

There are not any rivers flowing into the harbour. very Small quantity of pure spawning within the Water of Leith and Lindsay Creek takes place however is nowhere close to sufficient to maintain the salmon fishery within the harbour, in response to Otago Fish & Sport Council chief govt Ian Hadland.

With the Dunedin, Neighborhood Salmon Belief hatchery at Sawyers Bay now closed there shall be no additional smolt releases into the harbour. It’s difficult to see salmon being caught by anglers fishing within the harbor in future years.

The annual salmon fishing contest was held in Otago Harbor both in late February or early March for a few years.

The 2022 occasion was canceled on account of Covid.

In 2021 not a single salmon over the minimal weight was caught throughout the contest.

This was the successful salmon from the Otago Harbor Salmon Fishing Competitors from 20 years in the past. it’s not solely larger and heavier, however it’s also deeper within the physique suggesting that it has fed effectively whereas at sea and is in good bodily situation. The general well being of a salmon fishery is not simply measured by the variety of returning fish. When the one salmon coming again are comparatively skinny and light-weight for his or her size, it’s a pointer that the fishery is beneath stress for some cause or causes.

In 2020 Steve Racz caught his successful 5.34kg (11.7lb) salmon from a ship. Solely three salmon have been caught over the 2 days of the comp. The second heaviest fish weighed 3.70kg (8lb), and in third place, the salmon weighed simply 2.24kg (4.9lb). Nonetheless, there was good salmon caught from the wharves throughout January and February main as much as the competitors.

In 2019 the competitors produced a complete of 6 salmon. 1st and 2nd place have been received by Lofi with a 5,780kg (12.7 lb) and a 4,740kg (10.4 lb) fish, third – Lance Moore with 4,685kg (10.3 lb), 4th – Nick Love with 4,590kg (10.1 lb), fifth – Dave Taylor 1,690kg (3.7lbs) and sixth – Cara Luxmoore 1,260kg (2.7lbs).

These numbers distinction dramatically with earlier years when not solely have been the salmon heavier, there have been much more of them. I keep in mind touring to Dunedin for the competitors when as many as 40 good-sized salmon have been weighed in over the 2 days.

Lots of the locals have been catching 20-plus salmon from the wharves every season.

Boys on a fishing trip to the Otago Harbor wharves.
Boys on a fishing journey to the Otago Harbor wharves.

The decline within the variety of salmon returning to Otago Harbor is nearly definitely on account of a rise in sea temperatures over latest years. Larger water temperatures have an effect on not solely the salmon themselves but additionally the species they prey on whereas at sea.

Waitaki Salmon Fishing Contest Outcomes Fascinating

Older salmon anglers could recall that the 1999/2000 salmon season was a poor one with fish numbers effectively down. The salmon that did return have been underweight for his or her size compared to the earlier bumper years. From 1993 to 1997 returns have been superb with salmon landed that reached 35 kilos.

It seems that salmon returns are cyclical to some extent. Foraging situations for the salmon whereas they’re at sea are a significant component. There appears to be a correlation between good years for purple krill and good years for salmon.

Good years for purple cod (which additionally feed on krill) additionally seem like the identical years for salmon. Krill develop sooner in chilly water. World warming results in hotter sea temperatures which might not be good for krill.

After poor salmon returns in 2000 and 2001, the Waitaki salmon fishing contest was cancelled. You may learn in regards to the Waitaki River Salmon Fishing Contest and the weights of the successful fish on this article.

Fishing Round Dunedin

On a lighter observe, colleges of enormous kingfish have been seen swimming across the wharves within the interior Otago Harbour. Maybe anglers might be able to fish dwell baits beneath balloons, poppers and jigs to focus on these highly effective ocean predators now that salmon are few and much between.

I additionally observe that many Dunedin anglers are actually making common fishing journeys to the Twizel Canals. Clearly, it’s a lengthy automobile journey in comparison with the native Otago Harbor wharves, however the probabilities of catching good salmon are a lot higher!

Looking and Fishing, Dunedin, 141 Crawford Road, Central Dunedin, Dunedin 9016

Extra about Otago Harbor salmon fishing.

One of the last really good salmon to come from Otago Harbor was this beauty caught by Jeff Sharp on 21 January 2016. It weighed in at 10.82kg (23.85 pounds).
One of many final actually good salmon to return from Otago Harbor was this magnificence caught by Jeff Sharp on 21 January 2016. It weighed in at 10.82kg (23.85 kilos).

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