High 1080 poison levels in some trout

September 26, 2014

Anglers are being told not to eat trout from many waterways as 1080 poisoning operations may be poisoning the fish.

A study by the Cawthron Research Institute has found 1080 levels in trout, which routinely eat mice that carry 1080 poison, are significantly in excess of recognised food safety guidelines for safe human health.

The Department of Conservation is now advising anglers not to eat trout caught in backcountry waters and their downstream catchments where it is using 1080 poisoning to control a “mouse plague” caused by the cyclic production of beech seeds in native forests.

Fish and Game New Zealand chief executive Bryce Johnson said he could understand why DOC is using 1080 poisoning but the findings added a significant new concern to the debate on its use.

“Anglers fishing back country waters, including overseas anglers who come here because of the trout fishery’s international reputation, have always been able to assume that it is totally safe to catch a trout and eat it,” he said.

“Sadly, this turns that over and is not a good look for New Zealand’s 100 per cent pure environmental brand.”

The trout fishing season in most New Zealand waters is due to begin on October 1.

“Fish and Game is not saying don’t go fishing in the back country, just don’t eat the fish,” Mr Johnson said.