19 Mar 2010

Review urged over lake duck-shooting ban

8:47 pm on 19 March 2010

United Future is calling for a review of the environmental impacts of duck-shooting on two Wellington lakes, following a ban by a Maori trust.

The ban, at Parangarahu Lakes, has been imposed by the Port Nicholson Block Settlement Trust, which was given ownership under a Treaty of Waitangi settlement last year.

United Future leader Peter Dunne says claims by the trust and the Department of Conservation of a risk from the toxic alga didymo are bizarre, because the conditions required by the alga to spread and survive don't exist in the Parangarahu Lakes.

The trust says the decision was based on sound heritage, conservation and management practices, and is in keeping with tribal tikanga.

Chairman Sir Ngatata Love says trustees take their responsibilities seriously, and took conservation best practice into consideration in reaching their decision.

No evidence of damage, say hunters

Hunters say, however, that there is no evidence they have damaged the two lakes.

Simon Muckley of the Wellington Wildfowlers Association says a recreational group can be banned only if it poses a risk of adverse affects.

The Fish and Game Council says hunting has taken place on the lakes in East Harbour Regional Park for 80 years, with no evidence of adverse environmental effects.

But trust spokesperson Liz Mellish says there is a risk hunters could infect the lakes with didymo.