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Fish And Game Review OK But Not By DOC

A major trout and salmon fishing advocacy has expressed strong support for Fish and Game NZ which the Minister of Conservation and Department of Conservation propose a review of.

New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers president Peter Trolove of Canterbury made his comment after a newspaper report of "Fish and Game 'imploding' as Government plans intervention.” The Stuff newspaper article depicted " internal strife and a looming financial crisis that has the group in disarray” with government planning an independent review of Fish and Game.

A recent video of a Fish and Game National Council meeting attended by the Minister of Conservation and Mervyn English, the Department of Conservation’s Director of Governance, was disturbing said Peter Trolove.

“It appears DOC plans to opportunistically take advantage of Fish and Game’s tenuous financial position, largely caused by COVID-19, to undertake a review of Fish and Game,” he said. “Almost from the inception of New Zealand’s acclimatisation societies, government departments and ministries have been covertly or overtly attempting to wrest control of our freshwater recreational fisheries.”

Review OK but--

A review of Fish and Game, 30 years after its formation from Acclimatisation Societies, was in order but such a review should be independent and managed by Fish and Game’s National Council without political interference.

Peter Trolove said Fish and Game and its predecessor in acclimatisation societies, were valued New Zealand institutions that had done more to protect New Zealand’s freshwater resources than any government body.

He said arguably DOC would be compromised by its NZ$20 million deal with Fonterra and DairyNZ, spread over ten years, to study freshwater pollution. Dairying expansion had been a major contributor to highly increased nitrate levels and lessened flows due to irrigation demands.

“Cabinet Ministers have short-lived/ephemeral careers, yet their policy can deliver consequences that last for generations,” cautioned Peter Trolove. “Government ministries are “captured” by the latest policies of a minister driven by short term political expediency”

Where’s DOC?

The Ministry for the Environment’s recent Our Freshwater 2020 report recorded a sorry tale of continued pollution, inadequate monitoring and an increased number of threatened species.

“DOC has not been visible in advocacy for clean, flowing rivers which are habitat for not only valued trout and salmon but native fish too,” said Peter Trolove.

It would be disastrous for New Zealand if Fish and Game were taken over by a Ministry such as DOC and the country’s only effective freshwater advocate was lost.

“For this reason the NZFFA expresses strong support for the continuance of Fish and Game,” he said.

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