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Felt Soled Wading Boots To Be Banned From 1 Oct

28 July 2008

Felt Soled Wading Boots To Be Banned From 1 October

The Minister of Conservation agreed in principle last week with a Fish & Game New Zealand submission to ban the use of felt soled wading boots for freshwater fishing. The ban, yet to be approved and included in the proposed 2008/09 Anglers Notice for Fish and Game Regions, will be effective from 1 October 2008, and applies to freshwater sports fishing anglers in all New Zealand waterways, except those within the Taupo Fishery.

The Lake Taupo fishery is administered by the Department of Conservation. The Department has advised that if a ban were introduced for the rest of the country it would recommend that the Minister approve a ban applying in Taupo.

The ban applies to the use of felt-soled waders or footwear incorporating or having attached a sole of felted, matted or woven fibrous material when sports fishing.

Felt-soled boots are considered a high risk vector or carrier of microscopic aquatic organisms like didymo. Preventing the spread of didymo is an important aspect of ban, but it is increasingly understood that felt soles are an effective vector for other microscopic pest organisms. While there are procedures for decontaminating felt soled waders, it is acknowledged that these are not practical in many situations. The proposed ban supports three of the objectives of the didymo long term management plan; to slow the spread of didymo and other freshwater pests throughout New Zealand, to protect valued sites and at-risk species, and to maintain the North Island free of didymo for as long as possible.

Earlier this year Fish & Game New Zealand consulted widely with agencies and stakeholders on the proposed ban. Formal submissions from MAF Biosecurity, the Ministry of Tourism and Environment Southland all supported the proposed ban. Of the 43 submissions made through the Fish & Game website, 20 supported the ban, 17 opposed it and six supported the ban with various conditions.

Some opposing the ban cited the safety provided by felt soled boots. Felt, or fibrous, soles provide a good grip on slippery boulders, and, for this reason, have become popular with anglers. However, other boots and sole types are available that offer alternative ways of maintaining grip on slippery surfaces.

The use of felt soled waders was strongly discouraged during the 07/08 season, and the ban should come as no surprise to most anglers.

Fish & Game New Zealand believes that banning the use of felt soles will immediately remove a high risk cause of spreading unwanted organisms like didymo among New Zealand’s waterways. Anglers must still “Check, Clean and Dry” all equipment that has been in contact with the water wet before moving to a new waterway.


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