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NZFFA Calls for Sage’s Anti-Trout Bill to be Dumped

The controversial proposed law promoted by Conservation Minister Eugene Sage that would allow the Department of Conservation to eradicate trout from any river should be withdrawn because it was "simply bad, unrealistic law" says the NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers.

In a submission to the Bill’s Parliamentary Select Committee Federation president Graham Carter and executive member Rex Gibson said trout were wrongly blamed as “invasive predators” for the decline in whitebait numbers, whereas the number one cause was habitat loss by river flows being denuded and quality eroded by contaminants.

“The proposed law was drafted in indecent haste,” said Graham Carter. “Fish and Game the statutory managers of trout and salmon were not consulted.”

He said there was the public exposure of the corrupted Bill could well put a stop to the current mis-information stating that trout are killing off native fish.

“There is more than enough evidence that it is a “cocktail of chemicals” from industrial farming and local body effluent managed and industrial discharge. Fertilisers, including nitrates and phosphates, and agricultural herbicides and insecticides are significantly damaging our aquatic ecosystems by leaching.”

Diazinon - ironically DDT’s replacement - Was still widely used for combating grass grub and was described as “lethal to aquatic life”.

The significant loss of water both in terms of flow and quality was a major factor in the demise of rivers. In recent years the push by government for expansion of dairying even in low rainfall areas, was having a major environmental impact. Monocultures of commercial pines plantations were detrimental especially at planting and milling, with silt-laden run-off and siltation of streams.

“A deep concern is that DoC, entrusted with conservation, i.e. the wise use of resources, is silent on these issues,” said Rex Gibson. “DoC is never seen advocating on the water quantity or quality or on chemical pollutant issues.”

Habitat quality was the key to conserving whitebait and eels and the myriad of organisms that share their habitat and not blaming trout because they are introduced, just like humans and a myriad of plants, birds and animals that make up the 21st century ecosystem he said.

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