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ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETIES.

AND the DOMINION’S FISHERIES. CANADIAN EXPERT'S OPINIONS. The past and future of the acclimatisation societies in New Zealand is dealt with in an interesting manner by Professor Prince, Commissitner of Fisheries for Canada, who, in his preliminary report to the New Zealand Government, expresses the opinion that the time has come for an important change involving the establishment cf an Advisfjyy Fisheries Board, composed of representatives proportionate to the membership of the societies. The Professor says;— There are, I understand, over 30 acclimatisation societies in New Zealand, including one or two new societies recently organised; and the work accomplished by these societies has been of a most remarkable and fruitful character. For nearly 50 years members of these societies have zealously and enthusiastically carried on the acclimatisation of sporting fish and of game. The success ot the introduction into New Zealand of some of the best fresh-water fishes is widely recognised. Fishery authorities in all parts of the world have viewed with admiration the great work accomplished in the past. No really excellent species of game fish were found in the lakes and rivers of the Dominion, ii we except the grayling. It is unnecessary to refer to the magnificent English or brown trout, rainbow trout, Loch Leven trout, and other varieties which have so flourished since their introduction into New Zealand as to far exceed in size and other qualities the original fish native to British and North American waters. In the early days a handful of enthusiasts, and, later, formal organisations, equally stimulated bv zeal for fish and fishing, procured supplies of eggs and of young fish at considerable expense, ami with infinite trouble initiated fish-culture in New Zealand. Such lakes as Wakr.tlpu, Wanaka, Tc Anau, Manapouri, Rotorua, and Taupn would not have contained the fin? fish in which they have abounded but for these early efforts on the part of the acclimatisation societies. The first trout introduced were brown trout, batched in October, 1363, by tb? Otago Acclima tisation Society; and since Ihen more less extensive importations of the various species mentioned have been made.

SOCIETIES' WORK REVIEWED. A review of the present work of the acclimatisation societies, apart from the operations carried on in regard to game animals, demonstrates that the time lias come for an important change. 1 shall treat in detail the work of these societies and of the reasons for my recommendations in my late.r report, and it must suffice to simply point out now ; (1) These societies are voluntary associations not responsible to the Government, and are of the nature of fishing or recreation clubs from a strict point of view. (2) The scope and character of their work fluctuate and depend upon local funds and other conditions unrelated to the needs or the possibilities of each district. (3) Licenses are issued by these societies, which collect revenue of a public official nature with tho cognisance of the Government. (4) They appoint, fishery officers whose work corresponds to that of Government patrol officers in other countries. (5) They build and operate hatcheries more or less complete, but often very limited in their scope, and characterised by an erratic and desultory mode of carrying on fish culture. Such operations in other countries are carried on extensively and most effectively under a Government bureau or department, (6) The work of each society is dictated by local members whose essential qualification is a contribution to the funds of such society or the payment of a fishing or shooting license fee {£l Is per annum). (Tire membership fees vary from 5s to KXs or more per annum.)

It is plain that' these societies, so Far as concerns fisheries, are in an anomalous position and have to a large extent outlived their original purpose and utility; and a proportion of the members, it must be granted, are not so enthusiastic and .selfsacrificing as the fathers of acclimatisation in New Zealand, of whom indeed very few now remain. All honor and credit must be freely given to the pioneer members of the acclimatisation societies for the

work, in some respects unexampled, which they have accomplished. These societies at present include a considerable number of act! vc enthusiasts whose views and experience are of great value: and if any change is decided upon with respect to the status of these societies and the issuing of licenses and collecting of public revenue, it, is desirable that nothing should he (tone, to alienate the interest of these enthusiasts or deprive the country of the experience they have gained.

ADVISORY BOARD RECOMMENDED. In my opinion it would be desirable to 'iva-te an advisory board composed of seproaentativea proportionate to the membership of the societies. These representatives should attend an annual conference in Wellington for the purpose of conferring with the chief fishery officers ami laying before the department at such conference suggestions and proposals which might be considered by the department. An advisory board would not affect the responsibility of a fishery department such as I strongly recommended should be created for the administration and preservation of the fisheries, corresponding to the Government fishery departments of the leading countries of Europe and the American Continent. The advisoryboard would indeed correspond to the meeting of “representative authorities” in England, which includes 21 local fisherv committees and boards of conservators as provided by the British Sea Fisheries Regulation of 1888. This representative body has no executive functions, but has done valuable work in discussing Important fishery problems as they arose and conferring with the eight or nine chief fishery inspectors, including the permanent head of tiie Board of Agriculture and Fisheries in London. In this' way the credent work of the acclimatisation sficie'ies would be fully recognised, and the Government would have the advantage of their knowledge and experience. But to continue the existing functions or con fer new administrative powers upon such societies would impede that reform of thsgfisheries administration in New Zealand which is desired by all parties commercially interested, and by a majority, I am convinced, of the societies themselves, and certainly by the public generally. The responsibility should rest upon the chief of the Fisheries Department, acting directly under a, responsible Minister of the Crown (Minister of Marine;. But local knowledge and opinion would find voice; and the dismissions arising at such conferences as I have suggested would enable expressions of opinion from the most remote parts of the Dominion to lie made which would b>- of immense value to the officials. Centralisation is, after all, a most effective method of economic public administration. A multiplication of local bodies serves no purpose which is not far better served by a Dominion department. Money is wasted: energies are fritted away-; there it; no cohesion <,f uniformity in" action; ami the fish and fisheries suffer from a continuance <>; the present method of managing fisheries by means of local societies. It is stating a fact recognised by fishery authorities ' generally that the | rival fish commissions m the various I States in th- United States and the activities of the local fishery councillors in Norway have really been a .source of weakness and waste rather than advantage | e: compared with the maty of purpose, | wo-i-.’.ay, and concentrated efficiency .1 M-Idbir th- sr-ct i e suits which have i from the work of r-uch a Centra] F : 'be; i»s Bureau as that in Washington, 1. .'s. A., or tho 1* Arteries Department in 0; „v.v*, Canada.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD19141029.2.38

Bibliographic details

ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETIES., Evening Star, Issue 15636, 29 October 1914

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1,243

ACCLIMATISATION SOCIETIES. Evening Star, Issue 15636, 29 October 1914

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