Who is the Minister of Tourism again?

Who ever it is he needs to start addressing the brand damage to New Zealand that 1080 is causing.

The latest warning about eating trout from streams and rivers in a catchment that has been bombed with 1080 has gone global.

Anglers in New Zealand are being warned against eating trout caught in certain areas of the country. This is due to widespread pest control measures undertaken by the government, involving 1080 (‘ten-eighty’) poison pellets being dropped aerially in ‘blanket bombing’ of poisoned baits into around 25 large areas of New Zealand’s South Island, including extensive areas around Otago, South Westland, Murihiku, Taranaki and Waikato, totalling well over 500,000 hectares.

In an effort to prevent rodents, in particular non-native possum species, from impacting upon native bird, lizard and insect populations (possums are also suspected carriers of TB), the Department of Conservation (DoC) has a history of dropping the poison into particularly vulnerable areas, and the baits also drop into waterways where the poisons are consumed by invertebrates and crayfish, and get into the aquatic food chain. 

Despite assurances that “1080 is biodegradable, dilutes quickly in water and does not build up in the food chain” and “does not leave permanent residues in water, soil, plants or animals” (Department of Conservation, 2014) there has been an impact upon trout in the 1080 poisoned areas. The trout are eating animals affected by the poison, such as mice swimming across streams or the corpses of larger mammals in water. This, in turn, is resulting in secondary poisoning of fish species such as trout and eels.

Initial research (commissioned by the DoC) by the Cawthorn Research Institute suggests that trout that have eaten mice containing the poison would exceed limits of 1080 accepted by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority, a warning already made by the Federation of Freshwater Angler’s as early as February this year. This warning was, at the time, rejected by the DoC, which is funded to the tune of NZ$100 million per annum, and has been using 1080 for approximately 50 years.

You do have to ask if 1080 is so benign int he environment then why do DoC place signs like this around?

Warning signs for the poison at Tongariro.

Warning signs for the poison at Tongariro.

It doesn’t take much to ruin the clean green reputation of New Zealand and dumping poisons into streams and rivers isn’t a good look.

I think it is time to look into the carpet bombing of our forests with poisons and start investigating alternatives.

I fully acknowledge in remote areas poisoning is the best option, but things are getting out of hand.

We have carpet bombed some areas for 50 years and there are still possums and pests…something doesn’t add up.

What is astonishing is that 1080 is banned pretty much everywhere else in the world and New Zealand is the last remaining industrial user of the poison.


-Flyfishing & Flytying

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