IntroductionThe Hatchery was the hub of the centre for many years, and although it no longer raises fish on a large scale, it still is an interesting spot to visit.
The Hatchery was the hub of the centre for many years, and although it no longer raises fish on a large scale, it still is an interesting spot to visit. It stands ready to come to the aid of the fishery should disaster strike the trout population of Lake Taupō, or to support other hatcheries in the north island if help is ever required.
Established in 1927 the Tongariro National Trout Centre hatchery has supplied fish all over New Zealand and the Pacific.
Why have a hatchery?
One of the most common misconceptions about the hatchery is that it supplements or supports the Taupō fishery. This is not the case, as the hatchery has never been used for long term releases into the fishery.
There have been a series of one off releases over the years for scientific purposes, including one large release in the 1960's, but the hatchery has never been needed to supplement the fishery. The trout in Lake Taupō have huge spawning catchments, and natural recruitment into the fishery is more than sufficient to maintain stocks.
The hatchery was originally established to use the ready supply of wild stocked fish in Lake Taupō to support acclimatisations societies by providing hatchery raised ova and fry for release around New Zealand and overseas.
Currently the hatchery does not produce fish in any great numbers, but it still has the capacity to produce large numbers of young trout for management purposes.
The hatchery today
The hatchery area of the complex is continually maintained by the Department of Conservation in a state of readiness should re-stocking of the fishery ever be necessary. This could be the course of action if a severe natural occurrence was to put the wild trout fishery in jeopardy.
At present the hatchery still performs a role in rearing fish for the children’s fishing pond each year. In addition to providing the opportunity for young anglers to snare their first trout, this also has a part to play in ensuring the basic skills of fish husbandry are maintained within the fishery team.
Should production ever need to be ramped up in response to a crisis, the skills will be alive and well locally.