Prawn fishing is off the activity list but there’s still plenty of fun to be had
Taupo, 16 December 2020: Prawn numbers are mysteriously dropping off at Taupo’s iconic Huka Prawn Park.
It’s been a recurring issue over the last few years, and despite extensive scientific research and monitoring the cause is still unknown.
Huka Prawn Park has been breeding prawns for the last 30 years. It all began with a vision of researching and developing the ability to breed and grow tropical prawns in captivity using geothermal heat from the geothermal power station next door to the park.
The park, which is located on the banks of the upper Waikato River in Taupo, has developed over the years beyond prawn breeding to become a popular family attraction.
The park has entertained thousands of visitors over the years, including with its unique prawn fishing. Richard Klein Co-Owner says, “They’re tricky little beggars to catch and have certainly kept everyone entertained.”
But Richard has now been forced to make a heartbreaking decision to temporarily close the prawn fishing part of the park.
“I’m devastated,” Richard says. “But we, along with our consulting scientists are truly baffled about what is happening to the prawns. And for some reason the issues are worse in summer.”
So while prawn fishing is not an option at the moment there’s plenty more to see and do at the park, including a couple of new attractions about to open, a dedicated stand-up-paddle board (SUP) and row-boat pond.
“Visitors can also still see behind the scenes of New Zealand’s only prawn farm and feed baby prawns. The geothermal heated water fills relaxing foot-soak baths on the edge of the river at the end of a riverside nature walk, and there’s rainbow trout feeding along the way. There’s plenty to keep children entertained with water gauntlets, water trikes, paddle boats, and stand-up and sit-down water cannons,” Richard says.
While prawns may be off the fishing menu for now they’re still a tasty feature in the park’s restaurant. “Recently we haven’t been able to grow enough prawns to meet restaurant demand so we’ve had to supplement them with identical ethically grown prawns from Thailand, and of course our restaurant will continue to serve these imported prawns. They’re very much still on the menu and served in a picturesque riverside setting,” Richard says.
“Huka Prawn Park is a great family attraction and we’re working hard to one day hopefully re-open the prawn fishing as soon as possible.”
In recognition of the closure of the prawn fishing, the park entry prices have been reduced.
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