GRASS AND SILVER CARP FARM IN TAUPO
I attended a meeting in Taupo Monday 16th November ( at the Destination Great Lake Taupo site to explain the proposal for a Carp farm. It was a very professional presentation. It seemed to answer all the questions re benefit to the area, economic viability, security and protection of Lake Taupo from carp escapees.
I since have felt uneasy and have pondered the matter. I learned that there had been two public notifications in the Dominion Post (7th and 14th November). The notification is as below[singlepic id=955 W=700 float]
Basic notes I made:
- Firm is Golden Harvest Aquaculture Harvest Ltd. Company owned by Clarke farming family of Gisborne.
- Power Point presentation made by General manager, Richard Clarke. A degree in Aquaculture from James Cook University, Queensland and 10 years working in Aquaculture in Australia.
- Site is supplied by Contact Energy and is next to the Native Plant Nursery.
- The site is so designed that water from the farm can not enter Lake Taupo.
- TDC have granted consent for the project which did not need notification. Consent application to WRC was made in the last week.
- Notification of project made in the Dominion Post on November 7th and 14th
- Submissions received by 4th December re this project. (See advertisement above)
- DOC then have 20 working days to respond.
What of Grass and Silver Carp:
A google search on Grass Carp and Silver Carp show that Carp have been in NZ since the 1960’s introduced for the control of weeds in with a lot of information from NIWA, DOC, Mahurangi T.I who breed and sell carp that will be the source of carp to be raised at the Taupo site for sale as live fish to restaurants in Auckland catering for the Chinese market.
Why do I Bring This to your attention?
I first learned about it on the 16th November. (I missed the Dominion Post Public Notices advertisement on both days advertised) but was disappointed that the Dominion Post was the only paper to carry the advertisement.
My second concern is that consent has been given by Taupo District Council as the application did not require public notification. There is an application to Waikato Regional Council and I am unaware of where that is at the time of writing. If that also does not require notification then it has an air of automatic approval.
My third concern is that there are only 18 days to decide my position on this issue. It is all happening so fast.
I understand that the 40,000 carp fry? have been purchased and the farm will be operational mid 2016.
At this moment I am concerned:
- at the speed and lack of community knowledge of the project. Who Knows about it? More people, more questions, more thorough research.
- that the presentation did not satisfy my doubts on security (release of catfish into Lake Taupo, human behaviour as described in Barry Crump’s book Bastards I have known)
- that millions of dollars are spent on cleaning Lake Taupo water while another possible pest could enter the lake. We were told that the lake water is too cold but there are numerous hot springs around the lake.
- Much was made of grass carp and little about silver carp. TV Fishing programmes delight in the scenes of silver carp leaping out of the water and into boats.
- They eat all vegetation in the waterways and up to a third of a metre above the waterline when the vegetation runs out.
- When the food supply is scarce they disturb the bottom beds creating a muddy water.
I am sure that a case can be made to refute my concerns but at this time I am concerned.
In defence of the project
- Both species are in NZ already and live fish can be bought for keeping waterways clear.
- There is a large Chinese market in Auckland to make the project economic. Grass Carp are the most eaten fish world wide therefore a strong demand.
- A lot of planning has gone into the setting up of the farm
- It has the potential to become an important tourist site for Taupo
I conclude that it is a project that has moved too fast.