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Quake shakes 'Fish in Schools' program

Media release from North Canterbury Fish & Game
Quake shakes 'Fish in Schools' program

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Sophie Moppett (pictured left) aged 9, Gemma Rowe 8, Max Hill 8 of Templeton Primary keep an eye on their baby salmon

More images are available in the online version

Both salmon and would-be scientists are suffering the aftereffects of the February earthquake with Fish & Game’s highly popular “Fish in Schools” program severely scaled back due to the chlorination of much of Christchurch’s water supply.

However, Fish & Game is positive the program will soon be up and running at full strength.

Fish & Game typically has 25 tanks in primary and secondary schools around North Canterbury, yet this year the project has been restricted to just nine schools that have been spared chlorination.

“Christchurch normally has one of the most pure water supplies in the world and does not need to be treated,” says North Canterbury Fish & Game officer Emily Moore. “This has enabled our unique ‘Fish in Schools’ program to be run as salmon are very sensitive to environmental pollutants and cannot survive in chlorinated water.”

The classrooms are supplied with salmon eggs that, once hatched, are raised to a certain size before being released into the river.

The program teaches children about the salmon lifecycle and the importance of clean water.

“We understand the need for temporary chlorination but were looking forward to things returning to normal, as are the schools involved in the program,” says Mrs Moore.

Daniela Murugesh, an asset engineer for the Christchurch City Council, says the chlorination was implemented due to extensive damage to the water supply and wastewater networks.

“We haven't got a firm timeframe for removing the chlorination yet,” says Ms Murugesh. “We have written a strategic document that deals with all issues that need to be addressed before the chlorination can be removed. The strategy will be discussed with the Ministry of Health next week, and only after that meeting we will know more.”

Schools that were able to keep their tanks this year were Roydvale Primary, Christchurch Girls High School, Waikari Primary, Templeton Primary, Kaiapoi High School, Ladbrooks Primary, Southbridge Primary and Leithfield School.

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