Comment: Federated Farmers pest management and environment spokesperson Chris Allen questions the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill.

Farm waterways provide habitat for various native freshwater species. Farmers undertake a range of regulated and best practice activities which protect both the waterways and native biodiversity on their properties.

These actions and investments can be considerable. During the 2005 to 2015 period, dairy farmers alone spent over $1 billion on environmental initiatives, a figure that continues to grow.

Federated Farmers submitted on the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in October. This bill proposes a range of amendments to the Conservation Act intended to assist with the protection and survival of our freshwater indigenous fish species.

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Read more from Federated Farmers here.

Of the range of amendments proposed, Feds was concerned over those relating to fish spawning habitat, fish passage obstructions and activities that are likely to harm or kill native fish. We pointed out the wide range of biodiversity enhancement activities that are already undertaken by farmers and the existing range of rules and regulations which help to protect native fish.

We then asked a series of questions on the proposed regulations, and pointed out how and why they could be problematic to crucial farming activities.

We also took the opportunity to ask why the regulations were largely focused on habitat and breeding protection, but took no account of the threat of introduced freshwater predators on our native fish species.

It seems illogical to ask industry and individuals to make considerable investment to protect native fish, when predation by a sports fish remains a key threat. I will reinforce our points on the Bill at the upcoming Select Committee hearing.

You can find out more information on the bill that once passed into law, will impact everyone from Whanganui to Napier to Bluff to Kaitaia here.