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Advice on 1080 in trout flesh – false and understated

Government agencies advice on 1080 in trout flesh – false and understated.

Most New Zealand freshwater anglers like to take a trout every now and then to feed their family. Many, including campers and guided overseas tourist anglers, enjoy fresh-caught trout cooked on the riverbanks.

In 2016 the Ministry for Primary Industries released a warning to trout fishermen, not to eat trout from 1080 poisoned rivers for at least 7 days. However, that MPI warning echoed by DOC and other agencies) was based on incomplete and false information.

To help them form this statement the MPI used data was used from a 2014 Cawthron Institute Study Report No 2611 on rainbow trout.

Brett Power an engineering surveyor spends much of his time checking scientific data for major projects and shows in the attached video clip that the MPI and Cawthron Reports are dangerously flawed.

The aims of the Cawthron Study were to develop a model to predict the uptake and fate of 1080 in trout flesh; and to investigate the uptake and elimination of a known dose of 1080 in trout following ingestion of 1080 to validate the model.

Brett Power establishes some serious flaws in the Cawthron report and anomalies which show that the risk of 1080 poisoned trout is much greater than has been declared.

Cawthron’s own report shows that throughout the experiment, 1080 levels in the flesh of exposed trout were above the maximum allowed residual level, at times up to 3,800 times this limit.

Both the MPI and Cawthron have stated that there was an excessively high loading of 1080 loading in the experiment which is clearly not true as clearly portrayed in the report.

The truth is that the loading were in fact miniscule.

The fact that trout are not susceptible to 1080 is not the problem. The problem is that they do carry 1080 in their flesh and can pass this on to humans. This then becomes a very, very big problem. In fact a dangerous health risk to all anglers and their families.

And the experiment simply did not establish how long 1080 stays in trout - it is still completely unknown.

With recent reports of 1080 becoming a problem in trout this has caused alarm bells in many areas including the desire to risk taking a trout or eel home to smoke.

We have organisations like Fish and Game, the Federation of Freshwater Anglers and then the government through the Ministry of Primary Industries putting out severe warnings against eating trout caught in areas where 1080 has been dropped.

The effects this has had on families is abhorrent – mothers will not let their children fish because of the high risk of coming into contact with the poison let alone bringing fish home for the dinner table. Anglers are also being denied the benefits of the freshwater sports fish they pay to manage.

This reckless and cavalier behaviour and attitude by the Department of Conservation, OSPRI and TBfree NZ must stop.


Further studies must be commissioned with the utmost urgency on the long term persistence and effects of 1080 in trout, koura, fresh water invertebrates and eels, and the risks of ingestion by humans and other mammals before some untoward event forces this on the government.

Graham Carter
NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers

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