Long-serving Fish & Game chief to retire

PRESS RELEASE: Fish & Game New Zealand

The long-serving head of Fish & Game New Zealand Bryce Johnson is retiring.

Bryce Johnson

Mr Johnson has held the position since Fish & Game was established in 1991. He was previously the first national director of Fish & Game’s predecessor, the Acclimatisation Societies, from 1980.

The chair of Fish & Game New Zealand, Lindsay Lyons, says Bryce Johnson’s decision to retire is a significant landmark for the organisation.

“Bryce is the face of Fish & Game New Zealand and has been a hugely effective leader and advocate.

“He has been in his role since Fish & Game’s inception and his hard work has helped shape it into a widely respected and effective environmental organisation.”

Lindsay Lyons says Mr Johnson has championed both the environment and the public’s rights.

“Bryce has been one of the foremost defenders of New Zealand’s environment. He is passionate about protecting our waterways, wildlife habitat and public access to our wild places – the environment and New Zealanders have benefited hugely from his efforts,” Mr Lyons says.

“It is thanks to him that water quality is now such a public issue.”

Bryce Johnson says the decision to retire hasn’t been easy.

“I have enjoyed my role as chief executive immensely. Fish & Game has not been afraid of tackling the big issues and I am grateful for the support the New Zealand Council has given me,” Mr Johnson says.

During Bryce Johnson’s time at the helm, Fish & Game has come to be regarded as one of New Zealand’s leading environment organisations, responsible for securing a dozen of the country’s 15 Water Conservation Orders (which provide the equivalent of national park status).

The organisation also spearheaded concern about the impact dairying was having on freshwater quality, sparking the water pollution debate that’s now becoming a key political issue in the lead up to the election.

Bryce Johnson says it is an issue which won’t go away.

“I think politicians are finally starting to realise that the public is fed up with what is happening to our waterways.

“Every New Zealander deserves to have freshwater they can swim in, fish in and gather food from. I hope I can retire with politicians committed to that goal,” Mr Johnson says.

Fish & Game New Zealand will begin advertising for Mr Johnson’s replacement shortly.

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