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Fish & Game Celebrates Waimakariri Water Quality

Media release from North Canterbury Fish & Game

Fish & Game Celebrates Waimakariri Water Quality

21 December 2012

Media Release

Fish & Game celebrates Waimakariri water quality

North Canterbury Fish and Game are celebrating the fact that for the first time since European settlement there is no direct point source pollution being discharged into the Waimakariri River - resulting in an improved water quality not seen for some years in this important Canterbury waterway.

“It was great to see people swimming in the river on the recent 30 degree plus days. In the past I have always cringed when I have seen swimmers in there,” says Tony Hawker, who until recently was Fish & Game’s environmental officer.

“Silver Fern Farms along with Kaputone Wool Scourers held consents for the discharge. There were various non-compliance issues with the consent conditions throughout its term and the discharge was a source of many complaints to Environment Canterbury.”

In some cases the waste was so toxic that it killed adult trout. Anglers also reported foamy substances on the surface along with brownish coloured water and strong sulphur smells.

The discharge from these industries now goes out to the Bromley waste water treatment plant where it is treated before going to the ocean outfall.

“This is a far more sustainable practice than discharging direct to the river.”

North Canterbury Fish & Game, along with many other locals and user groups, has been advocating for this action for a long time and is thrilled that this environmentally responsible action has finally been taken.

“Well done to Silver Fern Farms for listening to the people and all those past and present who, over the years, took action to make this happen,” says Peter Robinson, North Canterbury Fish & Game councillor and Pines Beach resident.

The Waimakariri River is truly a special river that is of national importance. In 2008 it received over 75,000 angler visits making it the most heavily fished river in New Zealand.

“We are very lucky to have a river such as the Waimakariri so close to a large population, and we urge Canterbury anglers to get out and enjoy this outstanding fishery right on their doorstep.”

North Canterbury Fish & Game will remain vigilant in protecting the water quality and flows in this river, especially as increasing agricultural intensification is proposed in the catchment.


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