NEW ZEALAND: MAF backs off irradiation plan for frozen fish bait
Posted: October 31st, 2009 - 10:46am
Source: New Zealand Herald
A proposal fishermen believed would stop them using imported fishing bait has been dropped after a public outcry.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry wanted all imported whole fish to be irradiated to kill viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) - a disease deadly to fish that has seriously depleted populations in the North American Great Lakes.
MAF dropped the rule after fishermen said the treatment would drive up the cost of bait, and make bait too mushy to stay on the hook.
It will now look at a softer approach targeting only highest-risk species from countries affected by VHS.
The disease affects a wide range of fresh and salt water fish, including farmed rainbow trout and turbot. It has been found in Europe the United Kingdom, and North America.
MAF Biosecurity advisor Richard Soons said the fishing industry had convinced the ministry it was too dependent on imported frozen fish for bait for the draft rule to work.
Irradiation treatment boxes were too small to cope with the large amount of imported bait used in New Zealand.