General news

Fishing is one of many recreational pursuits on New Zealand rivers
24 August 2017

New fund launched to support freshwater ecology and fisheries research

Cawthron Foundation has announced the establishment of a new fund to support long-term research relating to freshwater ecology and fisheries. All donations to the fund will be used to research the best ways to improve the health of New Zealand’s freshwater systems and the valuable fisheries that they support.

“Following the course of other nations, New Zealand’s freshwaters and fisheries are degrading in response to various environmental pressures, foremost being intensive agricultural land use,” says Cawthron Senior Scientist John Hayes.

“Many factors are contributing to environmental degradation,” says Hayes, “degradation that has occurred despite New Zealand possessing environmental law that is among the best in the world, in the form of the Resource Management Act 1991. This highlights the overwhelming pressures of human development. People’s enjoyment of freshwater is increasingly curtailed due to poor water quality and diminished flows, and largely unregulated recreational usage.”

Scientists surveying macrophytes at the Waikato hydro lakes

“Cawthron scientists have the expertise to provide world-class freshwater science, including fisheries, and have pre-eminent track records in these areas,” says Cawthron Foundation Manager Elizabeth Bean. “Our history makes us confident that philanthropic funding can make a positive contribution to providing solutions to the challenges facing New Zealand’s freshwaters and freshwater fisheries. We are pleased to establish a fund for people seeking long-term research into questions around freshwater ecology and fisheries.”

“Good science is key to proper implementation of environmental legislation for truly sustainable freshwater and fisheries management,” says Hayes. “Staff at Cawthron are committed to providing such science to help stem the consequences of unsustainable exploitation of our freshwaters and fisheries.”

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