Conservation Minister Maggie Barry has given the go-ahead for a carp farm near Taupo, despite strong opposition from fishing groups who say a carp escape could ruin Lake Taupo within a generation.

Golden Harvest Aquaculture plans to operate a land-based grass and silver carp aquaculture farm in Rakanui Rd, now that it has the green light.

The only special condition is that the company must take responsibility if there is a breach from its facility.

But concern is growing, with Turangi environmentalist and leader of the Outdoors Party Alan Simmons calling on all anglers to urgently contact the minister to oppose it.


He says the Federation of Freshwater Anglers, which represents thousands of fishing club members around New Zealand, has strong objections.

Taupo District Council has approved Golden Harvest's land use consent application on a non-notified basis and a Waikato Regional Council resource consent is also being processed.

The proposal has carp for the farm supplied as fingerlings from a rearing facility north of Auckland and trucked to Taupo, where they will be raised to provide carp for the Auckland restaurant market.

The company plans to open the multi million-dollar facility to tourists in 2017.

It wants to start building the farm as soon as possible to have it ready for fingerlings in May and begin supplying live fish to restaurants by December.

It expects to employ between two and four fulltime workers, with more jobs created when it opens to visitors, with tours, fish-out points and a restaurant.

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Golden Harvest Aquaculture general manager and aquaculturist Richard Clark said the company wanted its farm in Taupo because of the access to geothermal heat.

The carp need water at temperatures of 27C to 28C to grow properly.

Mr Clark said people were confusing grass carp and silver carp with nuisance fish koi carp.

"The only way that silver carp and grass carp can be bred in New Zealand is in a laboratory," Mr Clark said.

But Mr Simmons said silver carp were regarded as a highly invasive species all over the world and were causing huge problems in some countries.