Kaiapoi Turning to Salt – No Water = NO FISH

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    Allan Burgess

    No Water in River = NO FISH
    Let’s take a look at what happened to the Ashburton River for a moment. I once talked about salmon fishing in the Ashburton River with an older bloke who was doing some work on my 4WD Toyota.

    He told me that as a youngster he could remember a day when as many as 200 salmon were caught at the mouth of the Ashburton River. Back in 1978 a huge salmon was caught at the Ashburton River mouth. It weighed 43 lb (19.5 kg).

    Alas nowadays the Ashburton is a shadow of its former self with the North Branch completely drying up over summer. Abstraction for irrigation has all but reduced this once mighty salmon river to a trickle. It is currently running at less than 15 cumecs (17 November 2017). There has also been far too much gravel removed from the riverbed which adversely alters the natural environment.

    Some sea-run brown trout still run up through the river mouth when conditions permit – which isn’t very often nowadays. Mostly the lower river seeps through the shingle bank into the sea through the closed river mouth making it impossible for trout and salmon to enter from the sea. What has happened to the fishing in the Ashburton River isn’t Rocket Science. No water in the river = NO FISH.

    The exact same process used to destroy the once highly productive Ashburton River salmon runs is now being steadily applied to the Kaiapoi, the Waimakariri, and many other once splendid trout and salmon rivers. Far too much water is being taken for irrigation. It also means pollution doesn’t get flushed as quickly. River mouths become blocked preventing trout and salmon entering from the sea to spawn.

    Canterbury’s Kaiapoi River is turning to salt – Stuff Article by Charlie Mitchell – 16 November 2017

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