Too Many Dead Fish With Fish Farms

Fish farming has its limitations for New Zealand and contradicts the country’s clean green branding image says an aquatic veterinarian and president of the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers Dr Peter Trolove of Canterbury.

Peter Trolove said a graphic example of fish farming’s flaws was salmon farms in the Marlborough Sounds which reportedly accepts 25 percent mortality per production cycle as normal.

“In actual fact based on Ministry of Primary Production information King Salmon have experienced losses of up to 70 percent at their Marlborough Sounds sites associated with the bacteria New Zealand Rickettsia like organism (NZ-RLO) & Tenacibaculum maritimum,” he said and added, “Ministry reports were critical of NZKS’s biosecurity.”

Dr Trolove has an MSc in aquatic veterinary studies by a Scottish university. According to the UK’s “Daily Mail” last year Scottish salmon farming was described as unsustainable causing irrevocable environmental damage – “a toxic industry dependent on a cocktail of hazardous and dangerous chemicals including known lobster killers”.

The Holyrood Committee on Scottish salmon farms in 2018 called for improved industry standards including transparency in reporting salmon mortality figures which can involve yearly losses of up to 34% with an average around 20%.

“These mortality figures which have been rising in recent years are considered unacceptable by the Scottish Government. Yet King Salmon see 25 percent losses as okay,” said Dr Trolove. “This despite not having the pathogenic parasites, bacteria, and viruses that the Scottish salmon farms must contend with.”

The Minister for MPI used his power for the first time under S 360(A) of the RMA to overrule the Marlborough District Council plan and allow NZ King Salmon to move several of its salmon farms to sites with better water flows in areas prohibited under the MDC plan. This was introducing private profit and pollution at public sites said Peter Trolove.

Peter Trolove said fish were defined as “animals” under New Zealand’s Animal Welfare Legislation.

“What other livestock industry would accept 25 percent mortalities per production cycle?”

Peter Trolove said it was time to take stock of the recent push to expand fish farming and consider whether this industry was compatible with New Zealand’s “clean, green” branding.

Contact: Dr Peter Trolove 03 324 2779

029 779 0295

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