Taking aim at Fish & Game over conflict of interests

Taking aim at Fish & Game over conflict of interests

Taking aim at Fish & Game over conflict of interests

Excerpt posted from http://www.stuff.co.nz

Last updated 17:54, March 30 2017

Taking aim at Fish & Game over conflict of interests

The damage invasive species such as koi carp do to waterways is largely ignored by Fish & Game, Andrew McGiven says.

OPINION: I saw that Fish & Game held a national “take a kid out fishing day” a few weeks ago. While I applaud anyone who can encourage our children to ditch the video games and get outside to experience the great outdoors, it did raise several questions.

Why, for example, are we trying so hard to improve the health of our fresh waterways when the likes of Fish & Game are paid to protect invasive, predatory species such as trout and salmon, which actively decimate our native species such as koura (New Zealand freshwater cray)?

When sediment is such a major component of our water degradation, why is it that koi carp can pillage our river systems, collapsing river banks and stirring up soil, and yet this problem has been largely ignored by the organisation.

It is discouraging when farmers work hard at establishing wetlands and native groves only to have them poisoned in a few short years by wildfowl E. coli.

* Farmer group’s claims on fish and waterfowl unfounded
* Fish & Game tells farmers ‘we are not your enemy’
* Pressure from anglers prompts Fish and Game New Zealand to test fish screen
* Changes to water allocation puts fear in Otago farmers

Yet Fish & Game chief executive Bryce Johnson denies there are too many introduced wildfowl species in number and kind, so this is not a problem either.

The issue for me is that I see a massive conflict of interest whenever I see Fish & Game comment about the health of our waterways.

They have a mandate to look after their members and their interests, which is clearly at odds with protecting our native flora and fauna.

The only reason they want clearer water is so that their members can see the trout/salmon with an improved focus and have a greater chance of hooking one.

I feel sorry for the members of Fish & Game who are railroaded into supporting the organisation that has a monopoly on the issuing of shooting and fishing permits.

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As a farmer, I won’t allow anyone with a Fish & Game permit on my land because I am sick of the one-sided, biased propaganda that is issued from head office that often detracts from the outstanding work rural communities have already accomplished around improving water health.

How is it that this organisation has legislation enabling it to collect a compulsory levy to the detriment of our native biodiversity?

Perhaps they should be using this levy to assist in culling and containing introduced species such as geese, koi carp and the like that are fouling our waterways and wetlands. Instead of operating in the silo of their own narrow interest, they should get with the programme and work with other groups such as the Land and Water Forum.

It would be interesting to see how they would operate if they ever lost this compulsory levy. With a guaranteed income, they can afford to move outside of what their core competencies are, protecting introduced species for recreational hunting and fishing, so that the rest of the nation and economy must do that little bit extra to meet our environmental standards.

It appears the only accountability they are required to meet is to make some uninformed, inflammatory comments about the rural sector from time to time.

It certainly sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.

Andrew McGiven is Waikato Federated Farmers vice-president. learn more


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