Federated Farmers Canada Geese Claims Are Nonsense
Fish & Game Says Federated Farmers Canada Geese Claims Are “Nonsense”
Fish & Game strongly rejected today Federated Farmers attack on the management and status of Canada Geese.
“Federated Farmers claims that Canada Geese numbers are not being effectively controlled are just nonsense and not based on scientific evidence,” says Fish & Game New Zealand spokesperson, Jay Graybill. “Their ‘survey’ of farmers’ opinions on Canada Geese is based on prejudice not fact.”
“In the Central South Island region, which has had a very high population of Canada Geese, our latest trend count shows Canada Geese numbers have fallen to around six thousand, the lowest count in 19 years of records!
“That’s less than half their peak in 1992. And the number of complaints from farmers has also fallen significantly. In the North Island the Canada Geese populations are well contained by North Island Fish & Game Councils.”
“After consultation with farmers we are in the final stages of reviewing our Management Plan for Canada Geese. This will include a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ with Federated Farmers.”
Fish & Game has assiduously implemented the 1995 Canada Goose Management Goose Plan Mr Graybill said. In the first three years of the Plan 35,000 geese were culled, and hunters harvested an additional 40,000 birds. This resulted in birds reducing from 36,000 to 30,000 in 2000, and in 2003 reducing further to 26,000. This very significant effort was funded out of the pockets of hunters.
“Federated Farmers attempts at declaring Canada Geese a pest are mischievous and lack credibility,” says Mr Graybill. “Canada Geese are regarded as one of the world’s premium game birds. If they were declared a pest farmers would have to pay out of their pockets to control them. Farmers would have to spread poisoned wheat across paddocks. You would see fields scattered with 300 to 500 dead birds which would have to be gathered in heaps and burnt. This sort of indiscriminate poisoning would also kill native bird species and introduce poison into the environment.”
Mr Graybill said Fish & Game had reviewed the Management Plan because of a significant biological change caused by farmers who have substantially increased agricultural development, such as planting grass and dairy conversions, which has significantly increased areas for Canada Geese to feed upon. This in turn has greatly increased their reproductive capacity.
Says Mr Graybill: “More grass equals better survival, equals more Geese. These actions by farmers have been outside control by Fish & Game.”
“The real solution has to be a shared one with farmers who create the conditions for the growth in the Goose population and Fish & Game licence holders who want to hunt them. We have been trying to work cooperatively and constructively with farmers and Federated Farmers’ negativity does not help.”
“Federated Farmers would serve its members better if it demonstrated an environmental conscience and did something about the pollution caused by farming to natural water and the environment rather than manufacturing issues.”
“We believe that this is more about Federated Farmers being resentful at having the finger pointed at dairy farmers by Fish & Game through its “Dirty Dairying” campaign, and they are playing upon the uninformed prejudices of their ordinary members most of whom would never have had a Goose fly over their property let alone land on it.”