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Review shows 1080 rules are working well

Review shows 1080 rules are working well 

The latest figures show that people who use 1080 poison are becoming more responsive to community concerns.

1080, also known as sodium fluoroacetate, is used to control animal pests such as possums, rabbits, stoats and rats, to reduce the impacts on native animals and plants, and to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis.

Each year the Environmental Protection Authority produces an annual report detailing all operations where the 1080 has been dropped from the air, and we’ve now used these to compile a five-year review to look at how 1080 use has changed.

•          Access the full review on the EPA website.

•          View past annual reports on aerial 1080 use.

EPA’s Chair Ms Kerry Prendergast says the review shows the tighter management regime launched in 2007 is working well.

“One of the most significant changes is that the majority of incidents are now reported to the EPA by users of 1080 rather than by members of the public as was the case when monitoring began in 2008.

“Operators are following our communications guidelines, and making sure to engage with locals and iwi.”

“We are really pleased to see this happening,” Ms Prendergast says.

The rules for using 1080 were changed in 2007, after a major reassessment that reviewed the risks and benefits of the poison.

The five-year review shows the new rules are working as intended, so there are no plans to reassess 1080 again.

Overall the review shows:

•        There are now fewer complaints about 1080 operations. Only five were reported in 2012, which is a substantial improvement when compared to 34 in 2008 and 35 in 2009.

•        The number of “incidents” (which include rule breaches by the general public and by operators) has declined since 2010. There were 35 incidents in 2010, 34 in 2011, and 23 in 2012.

•        Monitoring data from more than 500 samples show that 1080 was detected in only two percent of all samples and has never been detected in drinking water catchments. Where it has been detected, concentrations of 1080 are far below the levels set to protect human health.

•        The number of operations was highest in 2008, at 70, and has now declined to 48 for 2012. The reduction in operations is considered to be due to the normal long-term cycle of pest control.

•        The amount of 1080 used in aerial operations declined between 2008 and 2010 and has remained relatively constant since.

•        The total land coverage by aerial 1080 applications was greatest in 2008 and lowest in 2010. From 2009 onwards it has fluctuated between 400,000 and 500,000 hectares.

In June 2013 an update report was released on the original investigation Evaluating the use of 1080:

Predators, poisons and silent forests by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. The

report concluded by noting that although 1080 had “not always been used wisely and well, and there is always room for improvement – that it should not be viewed as a ‘necessary evil’. We are lucky to have it.”


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