As many concerned trout fisherman will be aware, the Green Party's proposal to significantly change trout fishing as we know it today could potentially cost Rotorua in more ways than one.
Basically, the Green Party in conjunction with DOC is proposing with their Amendment to the Conservation Act to not only be able to close down complete hatcheries like ours, allow trout farming, allow trout to be sold, and include trout and salmon's future to be included in Treaty negotiations.
Their questionable rationale for this draconian recommendation is that in our lakes, for example, trout, and trout alone, are the sole reason for the decline in the six native freshwater species. One could argue that sure, trout have been a predator over the years, but certainly not the one and only reason for such a decline. Human activity is the prime reason, including agricultural land use, the general decline in water quality, Māori cultural harvesting, and of late the curse of the catfish.
Given that there have been no evidence-based figures to quantify the cost of such a significant change to our Rotorua catchment, one can only estimate the economic benefit today of trout fishing at around $60-80 million per anum. Closer to home, we have the figure of $90m quoted by DOC in 2010 for the Taupō catchment.
Hence the figure for Rotorua, some nine years later is, I believe, realistic. Accordingly, if the Greens, and any other party which may be brave enough to proceed with this knee- jerk reaction, then the cost to them, and the tourist dollar for Rotorua will be significant.
If you ask me all the councillors need their heads banged together, they're asking for more money now when they have just received $20-odd million for the lakefront - so what chance have they got of getting it?
They are meant to be business people but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the museum is far more important than the lakefront and will show an immediate financial return on completion.
So why doesn't the council fix up the lakefront as it is and divert the rest of the money into the museum and get the ball rolling, or is that too simple?
This is fast moving into an election-year issue, a bit of common sense would go a long, long way.
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