Don't Spread Unwanted Freshwater Pests This Whitebait Season

Published: Mon 13 Aug 2012 12:48 PM
13 August 2012
Don't Spread Unwanted Freshwater Pests This Whitebait Season
With whitebait season starting on Wednesday 15 August, the Ministry
for Primary Industries is reminding whitebaiters to Check, Clean and
Dry their equipment between waterways to avoid the spread of unwanted
freshwater pests that can clog nets and choke waterways, including
whitebait habitats.
“Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo and lagarosiphon pose a
serious threat to our rivers, streams and lakes. Once in a waterway
they can disperse rapidly and destroy the environmental, recreational
and aesthetic values of our waterways,” says John Sanson, National
Coordination Team Manager.
“Restricting your whitebaiting to one catchment only is the best
way to stop the spread of unwanted pests. However, if you are going
to be moving between waterways we ask you to Check, Clean, Dry any
equipment that has come into contact with river or lake water –
particularly nets and waders.”
“Some freshwater pests, like didymo, are often invisible to the
naked eye and can be spread by a single drop of water. Treat every
waterway as though it is infected – even if you can’t see the
danger you could be spreading it.”
Mr Sanson says before leaving a waterway, people should check items
and leave any plant debris they find in their equipment at the
“All equipment should then be cleaned for at least one minute with
a five percent solution of biodegradable dishwashing solution.
That’s about one tablespoon of detergent per 250ml.”
“Water absorbent materials such as boots and waders require longer
soaking times to allow thorough saturation.
“Drying will kill didymo, but even slightly moist items can harbour
didymo and other microscopic pests for months. To ensure didymo cells
are dead by drying, the item must be completely dry to the touch,
inside and out, then left to dry for at least another 48 hours before
use,” says Mr Sanson.
“Following these simple procedures will help slow the spread of
freshwater pests throughout New Zealand waterways. It’s
everyone’s responsibility to try to preserve the environmental
integrity of our waterways for generations to come.
“Just remember to Check, Clean, Dry every time you move from one
waterway to another, wherever you are in New Zealand.”
For more information about freshwater pests and the Check, Clean, Dry
process, visit
For more information on whitebaiting regulations and whitebait and
other native fish species, visit

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