100% Pure NZ – Waterways May Be Poisoned By DOC To Kill Trout

Tom Hunt, writing for the Dominion Post, has revealed that the Department of Conservation may release a toxin  into the upper Karori reservoir and the streams flowing into it this summer.

The toxin, Rotenone (A ‘1080 for fish’) will be used in an effort to kill unwanted brown trout.

According to the article Rotenone presents

“no danger to humans and would be contained in Zealandia’s upper lake and only released once water was tested and shown to be safe, the wildlife sanctuary said.”

But the use of this poison is not new in 100% pure New Zealand, apparently it has been used for some years, this will be its first use in flowing water

Rotenone has been used in New Zealand to great effect for a number of years, but only in lakes and ponds. If this trial is successful, rotenone could be a major breakthrough in protecting and restoring native freshwater ecosystems, where there are threatened species of native fish.

Dr West said when used correctly it posed “little if any” risk to public health.”

“When used correctly”, there’s the rub.

To add further discomfort “little if any” suggests that even with the greatest of care there are still risks to the public. Are those risks low enough enough to make it worth using this poison, and what damage will be done to the native wildlife and ecosystems that already exist in these waters? DOC say that as many native banded kokopu and crayfish as possible will be caught and held in cages until it’s all over, which suggests that many will also be killed off. Read the report here.

Wikipedia has an entry for Rotenone, that says that it is mildly toxic to humans, is a possible Parkinson-causing agent and may last six months in water:

Rotenone is an odorless chemical that is used as a broad-spectrum insecticide, piscicide, and pesticide. It occurs naturally in the roots and stems of several plants such as the jicama vine plant…

…Rotenone is also used in powdered form to reduce parasitic mites on chickens and other fowl. In the United States and in Canada, all uses of rotenone except as a piscicide (fish killer) are being phased out.

Rotenone is classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. It is mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to insects and aquatic life including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is due to the fact that the lipophilic rotenone is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or through the gastrointestinal tract.

The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg. Human deaths attributed to Rotenone are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone can be fatal.

The compound breaks down when exposed to sunlight and usually has a short lifetime of six days in the environment. In water rotenone may last six months.

Rotenone is classified by the USDA National Organic Program as a nonsynthetic and was allowed to be used to grow organic produce until 2005, when it was added to the list of prohibited substances due to concerns about its safety. However, it has since been re-approved…

..rotenone was investigated as a possible Parkinson-causing agent. Both MPTP and rotenone are lipophilic and can cross the blood-brain barrier.

In 2010, a study was published detailing the progression of Parkinson’s-like symptoms in mice following chronic intragrastric ingestion of low doses of rotenone. The concentrations in the central nervous system were below detectable limts, yet still induced PD pathology.

The question is this – should a country that trades internationally on its clean, green, 100% pure image be carrying out culls of its wildlife using poisons? Surely there are more environmentally sustainable and less damaging methods that could be used.

DOC’s announcement was discussed on the forum at Flyshop.co.nz, one member had this to say about Rotenone’s use in South Africa (emphasis ours)

DOC to Exterminate Trout, the thin edge of the wedge?
In the last year or two in South Africa we have been fighting the same thing. Cape Nature want to use Rotenone in four of our rivers as a pilot project to save some of the indigenous fish species.

An “independent” EIA was done and everything is now hunky dory ito using it in rivers.
If you study the scientific research available on the net you will see that in nearly all cases using rotenone in rivers is not successful and the “problem” species return (even the studies quoted in the EIA mentioned this).  This is mainly due to the fact that it is practically impossible to treat an entire river properly unless you overdose it.

In addition to this the “experts” tell you that at the concentrations of rotenone which are used, none of the insect life will be affected.  What they have been unable to explain in a satisfactory way is how they can guarantee the dosage will remain the same throughout the river – especially when by their own admission they will need to bomb pools in the river with high doses to prevent the trout evading the poison.

The other joke is that they will tell you how safe rotenone is and that it has been used in pesticides and insecticides for years.  What they also fail to mention though is that all the companies in the USA that supply rotenone, voluntarily withdrew registration of it’s use for all purposes besides as a piscicide – wonder why if it is so safe.

I get seriously annoyed at the bs that these so called scientists expect us to believe.  Good luck and fight it all the way!  If you want some links to some of the scientific studies shout and I will dig them up.

For more about New Zealand’s green credentials read Green Credentials, or Green Wash?

Read also: posts tagged 1080