When David Priest steps into the role of Otago Fish & Game Council operations manager based in Cromwell, he brings with him 30 years’ experience in conservation projects.

He has spent the past two years as a planner and contract manager for the Department of Conservation’s Northern South Island region.

‘‘I am passionate about looking after our freshwater resources and wetlands for future generations to enjoy the outdoors,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m looking forward to working with the community on wetland restoration projects, and freshwater initiatives around the region.’’

Mr Priest has moved from Golden Bay to Central Otago.

‘‘I’m looking forward to exploring the backwaters, lakes and wetlands of the region with my Labrador dog.

‘‘I am a spin and soft-bait angler with an interest in learning the art of fly fishing with the abundance of fishable waters in the region to explore.’’

Otago Fish and Game Council chief executive Ian Hadland welcomed the appointment of Mr Priest, who brings wildlife and project management experience from Doc and the West Coast Regional Council.

The Central Otago population was growing at a higher rate than the rest of the Otago region, and angler and hunter activity reflected that, Mr Hadland said.

‘‘The council recognised that shift, particularly the pressures on the sports fishery and its habitat, and the need to move staff resources towards the big lakes to ensure the area is carefully managed and licence holders get the service they deserve,’’ he said.