Fur Industry Looks to Be Part of Predator-Free Solution
Fur Industry Looks to Be Part of Government’s Predator-Free Solution
New Zealand’s $130 million possum fur industry is seeking constructive ways to work with the Government in the wake of its announcement to eradicate rats, stoats and possums by 2050.
Fur Industry Council chair, Neil Mackie says: " Predator Free New Zealand is a commendable and aspirational goal and we want to be part of the solution to achieve it.’
“We have been working closely with the Department of Conservation after the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment recognised the possum fur industry as having a valuable place in possum control.
"Last year we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with DoC to get hunters better access to possums on Conservation land.
“We believe we can achieve a win-win situation with DoC. We both want to bring the birds back, see enhanced flora and dead possums. Our value-add is we are generating money for the country as well – at no cost to the taxpayer,” says Mr Mackie.
Possum fur is a fast growing industry and equivalent in size to manuka honey. It employs about 1500 people and returns wealth to the regions from an animal that is otherwise a pest.
“There are an estimated 35 million possums out there. Currently we are trapping and recovering fur from 20,000 possums a week. To meet the growing demand from our industry, we want to trap and recover up to 40,000 a week. That is 15 per cent of the total population of possums removed annually – and comes at no cost to the taxpayers.”
“Most of our possum fur products are exported. They are extremely popular with tourists. With tourism numbers up the possum fur industry is tracking 30 per cent above expectations.