The Department of Conservation (DOC) says the health risk to anglers from 1080 in trout following pest control operations is low.
DOC worked with Fish and Game New Zealand and the New Zealand Federation of Freshwater Anglers on independent laboratory trials to enable modelling of the impact on trout from eating poisoned mice after aerial pest control operations.
The lab research involved force-feeding trout in tanks high levels of 1080 gel to measure the uptake and break down of 1080 in their flesh over a number of days. The trout remained in good health and showed no ill effects from the poison.
The laboratory trials showed the force fed trout did take up low levels of 1080 but this broke down naturally over a number of days.
At the levels assessed during the trial, an average sized adult would need to eat several tonnes of affected trout flesh in one serving, to have a 50 percent chance of a fatal dose.
DOC’s Director-General Lou Sanson said DOC will be referring the initial report to the relevant health and food safety authorities for their assessment and in the meantime, stands by its position that anglers are at little risk from aerial 1080 pest control operations.
“These are preliminary laboratory results and further work is required to assess the risk of wild trout eating potentially contaminated mice in field conditions.”
Lou Sanson said DOC is working with Fish and Game to make anglers aware of the issue.
"We are posting maps showing current operations on our website so anglers who wish to take a zero-risk approach can choose not to eat fish from affected catchments."