Integrated Catchment Management

Stream health – fish

 Research Status: Ongoing
Brown trout and a drift diver

Brown trout and a drift diver


Particular concerns have been raised over the condition of the Motueka River catchment in the last few years. Annual surveys of brown trout have shown that the observed number of adult trout were about one third of the numbers seen in 1985. The reasons for this decline are unclear but could relate to changes in physical habitat suitability for adult trout in the main river, spawning success in the tributaries, and/or declines in food availability.

Research Approach

Various approaches are used to study fish. Fish surveys using electric fishing techniques, angler census surveys, drift diving, radio-tracking of fish, and habitat quality surveys all provide information about what species are present and the nature of the health of their habitat.

Research Results

The Motueka River catchment contains a range of fish species including native freshwater fish. However it is mostly known for its international brown trout fishery. Trout numbers showed a significant decline in the mid 1980's but have tended to bounce back in recent years. More details»

Fish distribution, as displayed in fish distribution maps, is largely a function of the availability of survey data or reportings rather than the "real" presence or absence.

Radio tagging trout Radio tagging trout

Radio tagging trout

Radio tagging trout

Recent Publications

Year Title File Size
2012 A Summary of Outcomes and selected formal publications from the Integrated Catchment Management (ICM)research programme:2000 – 2011
pdf       1.08MB
2011 The Sherry River – a Success Story 2.97MB
2011 Integrated Catchment Management – Special Issue of the NZ Journal of Marine & Freshwater Research  
2010 Contrasting responses to catchment modification among a range of functional and structural indicators of river ecosystem health. doc       37KB
2010 Movement and mortality of adult brown trout in the Motupiko River, New Zealand: effects of water temperature, flow and flooding. pdf       265KB
More publications on this topic »
All ICM Publications »

Recent Presentations

Year Title File Size
2010 Integrated Catchment Management Research: what have we learnt? pdf       2816KB
2006 Element signature analysis from the otoliths of brown trout (Salmo trutta) determines recruitment in the Motueka River, Nelson. pdf       1688KB
2006 Ecological effects of gravel extraction. pdf       131KB
More presentations on this topic »
All ICM presentations »

BMPs, BEPs and Guidelines

Title Description
Marine Recreational Fishing Guidelines  
Southland’s Wetlands assessment Guide A tool kit for use by landowners that includes practical advice and assistance to encourage the main...More »  
Guide to Marine Farming Consent Conditions for Deemed Coastal Permits From guide:
This guide aims to support councils in planning for aquaculture1. It provides guid...More »  
Check, Dlean, Dry: Didymo Factsheet for Whitebaiters From website:
Whitebaiters need to clean nets and other gear betweeen waterways to help slow t...More »  
Environmental Best Practice Guidelines for the Offshore Petroleum Industry From guide:
The Guidelines are voluntary principles to assist Industry to identify, assess and...More »  
All BMPs, BEPs & Guidelines »

Primary Contacts:

Image - Rowan Strickland Rowan Strickland  EmailSend email to
Cawthron Institute
Coastal and Freshwater Group Manager, Freshwater scientist
Image - Roger Young Roger Young  EmailSend email to roger.young
Phone: (03) 548 2319
Fax: (03) 546 9464
Cawthron Institute
Land/water interactions, water quality, fisheries, river health
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Page last updated Monday, 16 March 2009

Related areas

Fine sediment: bringing the geomorphology and biology together Stream health – invertebrates Stream health – productivity

Related Website(S)

Flood gates – NIWA Ministry of fisheries NZ Freshwater fish database NZ freshwater sciences society Te Ara – The encyclopedia of New Zealand. Freshwater habitats.