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Conservation Dept Commits Environmental Vandalism

Department Of Conservation Commits Environmental Vandalism

An Auckland company has battled the Department of Conservation for almost two years for approval to rid New Zealand’s waterways of increasing populations of the noxious pest koi carp at no cost to the taxpayer – but without success.

New Zealand Waterways Restoration Ltd has been battling DOC since the beginning of 2003 for approval to remove increasing populations of koi carp from New Zealand’s waterways, but continues to be rebuffed as DOC goes out of its way to ensure the project won’t proceed.

Koi carp are noxious pests under the Conservation Act 1987 and the Freshwater Fisheries Regulations. It is the Department of Conservation’s responsibility to rid koi carp from New Zealand’s waters where they destroy indigenous flora and fauna.

“Koi carp are destroying our native habitat and are multiplying by the millions each year. Urgent action is required to avoid the same situation as in Australia where CSIRO scientists say they are responsible for environmental and economic damage of between A$100 million and A$500 million each year,” New Zealand Waterways Restoration Ltd Director Gray Jamieson said.

“DOC’s inability to successfully eradicate this pest from New Zealand waters despite getting millions of dollars each year for it, and continually rejecting our plans to remove and export koi carp is nothing short of environmental vandalism. Koi carp have completely destroyed some waterways in New Zealand that, until the koi are removed, will never recover,” Mr Jamieson said.

Mr Jamieson said his company originally became involved in this after DOC correspondence and invitations confirmed its support for this project. His company has since perfected new harvesting techniques to remove koi carp and has an international patent for its work to destroy pest fish and restore our waterways to pristine conditions. While most of the carp would be destroyed some larger valuable ones would be marketed in Europe and Asia where koi are prized ornamental fish.

“Our goal is eradication of this pest and the Ministry of Fisheries has granted us a special permit to do so. We believe DOC, however, are philosophically opposed to people making money out this despite the fact that the department should be going out of its way to help us do their job at no cost to the taxpayer.”

Koi that weren’t destroyed would be safely transported to a fully secured, approved fish farm in Warkworth, where koi have been present for 11 years. The koi would be exported to Europe via Australia by our agents who already have Australian Government approval to do so. Destroyed koi would be sold as pet food and other animal feed.

Mr Jamieson said bureaucratic delays and associated costs are extremely frustrating. In Australia, agents for Mr Jamieson had received both tremendous political and bureaucratic support for the work and a grant of A$88,000 to help develop the export market in Europe for New Zealand koi, which are more desirable as ornamental fish than Australian koi.

“We have spent more than $100,000 on equipment, legal advice, applying for various permits and applications, only to have DOC place every barrier in front of us. It makes you think – maybe DOC doesn’t want this pest destroyed at all.”

He added that the best that DOC does is arrange a “bow-hunt”, where archers shoot individual koi with an arrow. Such activity has absolutely no effect on the population status of koi.

“Now is the time to act. In a short time, koi reach the breeding season and the numbers of this pest in New Zealand waters will multiply once again,” Mr Jamieson said.

ENDS

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