Outlaw public sale of whitebait

By: Brian Rogers brian@thesun.co.nz

First they wanted to kill off the tahr, now they’re trying to wipe out our trout.

The lunatic green fringe of government has murderous intent lurking behind its ‘peace and conservation’ façade.

We’re talking about one of the most absurd pieces of legislation ever dreamed up, which poses a serious threat to trout and freshwater fishing.

The ridiculous ‘Indigenous Freshwater Fish Amendment Bill’ aims to provide better protection for indigenous fish such as galaxids, whitebait, eels, bullies, torrent fish, mudfish and other species.

But there’s a much simpler and logical first step to take the pressure on these species: ban the public sale of whitebait.

Angling threat

The Bill poses a serious threat to trout and angling. It would allow trout and salmon to be removed from particular rivers and lakes, even if they are significant trout and salmon fisheries. It could mean trout being part of Treaty of Waitangi settlements with iwi. The Bill also opens the possibility of allowing the sale of trout.

Anglers across the country are irate and making their thoughts known.

Surely there are better ways to protect native species, particularly whitebait, if the current government is so concerned with preservation?

No quota, no limit

For starters, it’s a no brainer to immediately outlaw the public sale of whitebait. All the freshwater species are at risk as bycatch.

Whitebait is the only fish in New Zealand that is allowed to be sold without a licence and caught without a quota or limits.

On top of that, whitebait sales are usually in cash, with no tax or GST and often by people already collecting a handout from
the government.

Ban the sale of whitebait. That will have immediate benefits for the fish stocks without impinging on the rights of every New Zealander to go catch a feed. For themselves, not for tax-free profit. Feed, not greed.

Write to object

It’s time the country woke up to the threat to native fish species. Clobbering the trout and freshwater angling sector is not going to solve anything. In fact, it is angering and alienating the very sector of the public who use and care the most about our wilderness and wildlife. And of course, they also vote.

If you’re as appalled at this nonsense as I am, cast your message to the noddies in Wellington. Check out Fish & Game’s website for details. Write to the PM, tell your MP and make a submission.

There’s some useful links at F&G.

Another invasive species

I’m always on the lookout for savvy investment opportunities, which is why I own so many Ferraris. Or at least I will, when those shrewd investments turn a handsome profit. Until then, I’m content just pondering whether the plural of Ferrari is Ferraris or Ferrarae.

My latest entrepreneurial venture is sure to be an outrageous success, and I’m prepared to share it with you.

Recently, the regional council reminded us that catfish are a threat and we should be vigilant about stopping the spread of them. They’re already in Lake Rotoiti and care needs to be taken by lake users to ensure the pesky piscatorials don’t migrate to other precious waterways.

Frontline assault

Now my generation is quite experienced at controlling invasive species, because we were on the frontline of a pest invasion in 1996.

That was the year of the great Tamagotchi outbreak. The civilised world, or at least the homes with children in them, were plagued with the release of the Tamagotchi menace, marketed as the “new pet for the digital age” but in effect, a leading cause of mental breakdown among parents.  

The Japanese toy simulated the life cycle of a “normal” pet. It had to be fed and watered and cared for. At the height of the plague, 15 of the pests were sold every minute in the USA and Canada. In just four years, 76 million Tamagotchis were sold worldwide and, at the last count, there were 44 different models.

Unreasonable demands

Many parents of now 30-something kids will feel the pain in remembering the confounded beeping and buzzing and bleating from these electronic monsters as they were constantly hungry or tired or had some unreasonable demand.

I can well remember the anguish of trying to deal with one of these cretins, under strict instructions from a child who was otherwise unable to care for it.

They were banned in schools, but all that did was foist responsibility back onto the long-suffering parents.  

The best story I remember about the demise of a Tamagotchi was when the family dog ate one. Not pleasant for the pooch, with all that circuitry and batteries, but oddly satisfying to know that the simulated pet had been devoured by the actual pet… probably out of boredom since the electronic invader had commandeered so much of the household’s petting resources.

Anyway, they seem to have faded from popularity, thank goodness, although replaced with even more sophisticated – and some would say evil – forms of electronic entertainment. And briefly by the ‘Chatter Rings’ phenomena, a sort of acoustic bubonic plague, which fortunately was also short-lived.

Parental torture

But it occurred to me that there must be millions of these Tamagotchi instruments of parental torture still lurking around - the ones that haven’t made it to the landfills.

We could herd them up, repackage them and on-sell to our grandchildren, to torment their parents, as revenge for the years of anguish we suffered. In fact forget the Ferrarae, it would be weirdly satisfying to just donate the instruments of evil to the grandies. Hours of pleasure for my generation, the grandparents could bathe in the irony, watching the horror on the faces of the thirty-something brigade. Recycling at its best, and more environmentally-friendly than a catfish.

Payback is indeed, a bitch.

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