Government To Protect Recreational Fishery

  • Nick Smith

Conservation Minister Nick Smith today announced that the Government would introduce an import prohibition on trout under the Customs and Excise Act 1996, in order to ensure the conservation of trout stocks and protect them from poaching while Parliament considers amendments to the Conservation Act.

"Trout is a very important recreational fishery worth millions of dollars to our visitor industry and of huge value to recreational anglers. We wish to protect this rich resource."

The Government decision follows from an error made by the former Labour administration in amending the Conservation Act and leaving open the option of trout imports. This in turn obliged the Chief Veterinary Officer to consider an application for trout imports under the Biosecurity Act which was approved in August. Trout imports, without the regulations, would have begun prior to Christmas had we not acted.

"The Government will allow the private member's Bill in Mark Burton's name to go to a Select Committee but will not support its further passage without substantial amendment. The Bill would continue to allow imports for non-commercial reasons and prohibit the current trade between Fish and Game Councils of fingerling stock. The Bill also raises important trade issues that the Select Committee will need to consider. These issues will need to be resolved if the Bill is to progress."

Dr Smith said the Government would ensure that officials from the Department of Conservation, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry work to ensure the Select Committee is fully aware of the deficiencies in the Private Members Bill.

"These measures will ensure we can conserve New Zealand's trout resource while the legislative issues around the question of imports are addressed by Parliament."