Research programmes for public good science.

Freshwater ecology and fisheries research 


 Do you want cutting edge science to inform the protection of our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams?

New Zealand’s freshwaters and fisheries are degrading in response to various environmental pressures, foremost being intensive agricultural land use. People’s enjoyment of freshwater is increasingly curtailed due to poor water quality and diminished flows, and largely unregulated recreational usage.

Cawthron has established a funding opportunity for donors interested in supporting long-term research to underpin the sustainability of New Zealand’s freshwater and fisheries.

Cawthron scientists have the expertise to provide world-class freshwater science, including fisheries, and have pre-eminent track records in these areas. Good science is key to proper implementation of environmental legislation for truly sustainable freshwater and fisheries management.

Our history makes us confident that philanthropic funding can make a positive contribution to providing solutions to the challenges we are facing. By supporting research, donors will be helping answer pressing questions such as:

Freshwater ecology

  • What are the most effective measures of freshwater quality?
  • How can we rehabilitate our rivers, lakes and streams?
  • How can we work together with local councils, iwi, farmers and community members to rehabilitate our freshwater ways?

Freshwater fisheries

  • What are fish water quality and quantity needs?
  • How do fish respond to environmental degradation?
  • How might we rehabilitate freshwater ecosystems to reverse the decline of our fisheries?

The video below outlines some recent research work completed by our freshwater scientists into the importance river flow for fish growth and abundance.

Watch more Cawthron videos on Vimeo

You can donate to research in these areas here or talk to us further by emailing

Fishing is one of many recreational pursuits on New Zealand rivers