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Didymo reports concerning: O’Connor

2 November 2007 Media Statement

Didymo reports concerning: O’Connor

Recent media reports on a possible didymo outbreak in the Central North Island are concerning and could cause unnecessary alarm for tourism operators and international visitors, Tourism Minister Damien O’Connor said today.

“I have written to NIWA Chief Executive John Morgan today about recent comments that have been attributed to his organisation about the effects of didymo on trout fishing,” said Mr O’Connor.

“It is important to note that the infection has not been confirmed and there are no signs of an algal bloom.

“There is no need for people to panic about an infection as it could cause unnecessary damage to the image of New Zealand as a fishing destination.

“Contrary to recent reports, an infection would not destroy the fishing tourism market in the Central North Island. There appears to be little impact in the South Island, although the presence of didymo is clearly undesirable.

“New Zealand lakes and rivers, especially those in the Central North Island, feature prominently as tourism attractions. The sustainable management of these resources is critical to the success of our tourism industry.

“It is essential that we reinforce the need for water users to take measures to prevent the spread of didymo. Checking, cleaning and drying all boats, kayaks, fishing gear and any other equipment after use is hugely important.”

Mr O’Connor said the Labour-led government has invested $13.3 million over the next four years on a long term management plan for didymo. This funding also includes a contingency fund to deal with any North Island find of didymo.

“The Ministry of Tourism, the Tourism Industry Association and Tourism New Zealand are working closely with MAF Biosecurity New Zealand on this issue. If the tests show that didymo is live in the area, MAF Biosecurity New Zealand and their regional partners are ready to respond,” said Mr O’Connor.


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