6 Jul 2011

Minster sides with scientists over trout and stouts

6:28 am on 6 July 2011

Environment Minister Nick Smith has sided with scientists in a debate over whether introduced trout should be seen as the stoats of the waterways for destruction they have caused in fresh water habitats.

The debate was sparked by former Federated Farmers dairy chair Lachlan McKenzie who suggested trout could be seen as having the same disastrous impact on fresh water species as stoats, possums and rats have had on the terrestrial environment.

Scientists have acknowledged that introduced trout have had a negative effect on native biodiversity but challenge any implication that the impact could be on a par with intensified land use.

Dr Smith says he accepts research findings that show most of the fresh water quality problems in rural areas are caused by nutrient and sediment flows from intensive agriculture.

''I think the analogy of stoats to trout is quite wrong. Stoats are incredibly descructive and serve no useful purpose at all. Trout do,'' he said.