Friday, November 24, 2017
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Lake restocked after poaching

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A year after poachers decimated a tributary of Lake Rotoiti, Fish & Game staff have returned to the area with a special release of young trout.

The fingerlings have been raised in the Eastern Region Fish & Game hatchery at Ngongotaha, with staff carefully calculating the impact of the poaching by releasing 1000 15-month-old fish.

Click the image above to watch the video
Eastern Region Fish & Game officers Matt Osborne and Anthony van Dorp release 1000 live trout into Lake Rotoiti recently. Photo and video: Jamie Troughton/Dscribe Media Services.

Eastern Region manager Andy Garrick has high hopes for the fish released.

"We’re really hoping to see them thrive in the lake environment and become someone’s trophy catch, or perhaps a keen young kid’s first fish," Garrick explains.

"We’re also hoping many will make it to maturity and go back into the streams and spawn themselves."

In July 2014, Thomas Tawha, from Te Teko, and David Leef, Kawerau, were caught by Eastern Fish & Game staff and police “pillaging” up to 60 spawning trout from a stream leading into Lake Rotoiti - an important trout spawning ground which is closed year round.

More than half of the freshly-killed trout were mature spawning females, with wild fish making up the majority of the haul. One of the worst cases of poaching recorded in the area for the best part of a decade.

Penalties for poaching fish during winter spawning season range from a maximum of two years in jail or fines of up to $100,000.

They were found guilty with Tawha currently serving a six month jail sentence.

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