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What actually threatens native fish

June 17, 2014

What actually threatens native fish

The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) is asking DOC to get their own house in order before identifying trout as the scapegoat for loss of native fish. DOC's recent review of threatened fish identified three species of native fish found only in Otago which are 'nationally critical' and Pete Ravenscroft, DOC's freshwater ranger for Otago, stated that trout are having the 'most devastating impact' on these fish.

"To suggest that trout have a greater adverse impact on freshwater life than irrigation, abstraction, dairy pollution, untreated sewage discharge by Councils and sediment run off from clear-felled forestry land is unqualified emotive bunkum," said David Haynes, President of the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers. "I think it highly unlikely that there is even one iota of evidential data to support this outburst and it smells of the 'all native is good, all introduced is bad' fundamentalism we hear all too often coming from DOC," said Haynes.

He continued "Carnivorous behavior is not the sole domain of trout; big fish, unsurprisingly, eat smaller fish, whether it be native longfin eels preying on bullies or native kahawai devouring smelt, this is nature – red in tooth, claw and fin."

DOC's press release states that streams of less than one metre width (where the threatened fish typically live) 'provide no recreation benefit to anglers'. "Where do DOC think trout spawn - on the moon?" asked an incredulous Ken Sims, a Federation executive life member.

The Federation believes that instead of seeking to paint trout as the reason for the decline in our native freshwater fish, DOC would be better positioned to put their energies into fighting for our rivers to be maintained in their natural state. "I find it hypocritical that DOC purport to care about native fish yet failed to bother joining the Federation and Fish & Game in the protection of the Makororo River from the Ruataniwha Dam, took $20M from TrustPower in lieu of submitting against diverting two thirds of the Wairau river into a canal and didn’t submit against a dam on the Nevis River, home to a native galaxid only found in that river."

The NZFFA advocates for the protection of the natural environment of New Zealand and, in particular, its freshwater ecosystems.



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