Call for Wanaka salmon

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Anglers are being asked to cast their lines into Lake Wanaka for research purposes.

Fish and Game needs the public’s help so it can investigate the differences in populations of Chinook salmon, including those in Central Otago lakes.

Fish and Game officer Paul van Klink said DNA samples taken from salmon caught in Lake Wakatipu and Hawea had been “plentiful”, but the organisation had yet to receive samples from Lake Wanaka.

“We have heard of the odd salmon being caught in Lake Wanaka and anglers are asked to contact us if they catch a salmon so that we can ensure a skin sample is collected,” he said.

He wants anglers to keep samples separate to avoid cross-contamination.

“I’m trying to get as many samples as I can because it’s the only lake up here we don’t have samples from.”

Fish and Game collaborates with a range of researchers, including Cawthron and universities.

“.. this particular salmon research project presents a fantastic opportunity for Fish and Game to ‘piggy back’ on a larger project being undertaken by Cawthron. It will provide us with highly relevant data for salmon management at a very small cost.”

He said, in order to manage and understand salmon populations, knowledge of their genetic variation and their relatedness was important.

“Studies to date have shown that some of the sea-run salmon that return up the Clutha River are actually from Lakes Wanaka and Wakatipu. So these fish migrate downstream and through the dam as juveniles. We wouldn’t know this without genetic studies.”

Anyone who has a salmon they recently caught, particularly in Lake Wanaka, is encouraged to let Fish and Game know.

Information on length, weight, date and location of where the salmon was caught was needed.

Email pvanklink@fishandgame.org.nz or phone Fish and Game on 03) 445-4418 to arrange a salmon sample.