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Wildlife Protection Review

MEDIA STATEMENT


31 July 2006

Wildlife Protection Review

Fish & Game New Zealand welcomes Wildlife Protection Review consultation document issued today by the Conservation Minister, and it is expected that the consultation process will provide for a constructive examination of all points of view.

The status of Canada geese is of significant interest to Fish & Game New Zealand. This introduced species is a gamebird under Schedule 1 of the Wild Life Act 1953, and is be hunted by licence holders during hunting seasons approved by the Minister of Conservation.

Canada geese can cause damage to crops and pasture. The goose population in some areas has increased significantly as a direct result of intensified farming operations. The improved quality and quantity of pasture and crops in areas where there is also ideal goose habitat, has increased the carrying capacity of the environment presenting a circular dilemma for farmers.

Fish & Game New Zealand works with farmers in areas where goose numbers are high to manage these goose populations. The South Island Goose Management Plan has demonstrated success in managing goose numbers and reducing the adverse affects on crops and pasture. This plan was developed over several years and involved extensive consultation among stakeholders. Issues involving Canada geese in the North Island are largely limited to the Wairarapa where Fish & Game also manages goose numbers at levels agreed with local farmers.

The cost to Fish & Game of goose management is significant and it is appropriate that these costs are shared by all contributing and affected parties.

Opinions on the future status of Canada Geese are varied, sometimes strongly held, and can reflect differences in the prevalence and impact of Canada geese. Fish & Game will consider the consultation document and develop a submission that is in the best interests of its licence holders and the environment, and that limits any adverse impacts of the species.

ENDS

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