The New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers, whose members have fought for the protection and guardianship of our precious freshwater resource for over forty years, are sickened by Dave Hansford, the pro-1080 blogger, who has chosen to use the freshwater crisis to express his prejudice against introduced species.
As part of National Radio’s ‘Water Fools’ series, Hansford penned an opinion piece ‘Filthy water report: A starting point or an end game?’ in which he states “We must stop worshipping trout and the dollars they bring, and respect instead the right of our native fish to endure.”
Federation spokesperson David Haynes said “ Using freshwater as a vehicle to bitch about trout is, at best, divisive and brings nothing positive to the table.” Haynes continues, “Our members have been boots-on-the-ground for years helping with riparian planting, helping kids get outdoors to learn to fish and actively engaging with central and regional Government, such as ECan, trying to stop the continued depletion and degradation of our rivers and lakes. Right now we are supporting an application by the Water and Wildlife Habitat Trust to restore Snake Creek, a tributary of Ellesmere/Te Waihora. When we try to fix a degraded watercourse, it is for the benefit of the whole ecosystem, of which trout may be just one component. It is because of our trout that 100,000 people enjoy our freshwater and give a damn about it.” Trout are a vital component of the diet of native species such as eels, cormorants (shags), herons and numerous native wading birds. A decline in trout numbers can lead to declines in some native species at risk.
Cawthron’s research over many years has shown that trout are far more sensitive to pollution and sediment than our native fish species and hence act as the canary in the coal mine for health of freshwater – when they are no longer present the river health has collapsed.
Trout were first introduced into New Zealand in 1867 and have since become an integral part of the Kiwi outdoors heritage along with game hunting, sea fishing and the right to ‘get a feed for the family.’