Protecting a local delicacy

Published: Mon 8 Aug 2016 04:44 PM
Media release
10 August 2016
Protecting a local delicacy
Fishers and keen cooks gearing up for whitebaiting season, opening on Monday 15 August, should be aware of the rules or the rare delicacy could disappear from dinner tables forever.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) is responsible for administering the whitebait fishery and ensuring people observe the regulations.
Whitebait are juveniles of five species of native fish: giant kokopu, banded kokopu, shortjaw kokopu, inanga, and koaro. Those that escape the whitebait net grow into adult fish which are some of our most endangered native species – some whitebait species have the same threat status as kiwi and New Zealand falcon.
“The whitebait fitter is an endangered species,” says Kapiti Wellington District biodiversity ranger, Dave Moss. “When we hear about people flouting the rules, such as fishing at night, using more than one net or oversized or unmanned nets, this is stealing the whitebait from future generations,” Dave said.
Whitebaiting is permitted between 5am and 8pm or between 6 am and 9pmwhen daylight saving starts on September 28.
DOC will be patrolling sites and talking to whitebaiters throughout the season to ensure people are complying with the regulations. They will be focussing on all whitebaiting outside the rules, including blocking streams or pipes. Illegal fishers can be fined up to $5,000 and whitebaiting equipment can be seized, so Dave urges fishers to become familiar with the regulations.
“The reason for the restrictions is to give the fish a chance to get upstream to their spawning grounds and breed,” says Dave. “That’s why it’s important to only catch what you need.”
“Councils, local iwi, community groups and DOC have all been working to identify spawning sites and protect habitat, so the fish that do get there can breed successfully.”
The best locations for fishing is anywhere the water is clear. The Waikanae River produces the most whitebait on the Kapiti Coast but Dave said Otaki and Hutt Rivers were also popular spots.
The whitebaiting season runs from August 15 until November 30 everywhere except the West Coast of the South Island, where it runs from September 1 to November 14.
Detailed information on the regulations can be obtained from DOC offices and sports shops and on the DOC website.

Next in New Zealand politics

David Clark resigns as Health Minister
By: New Zealand Government
Green Party Proposes Transformational Poverty Action Plan
By: Green Party
New protection for dolphins
By: New Zealand Government
Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
By: New Zealand Government
A New Firearms System Focused On Safety
By: New Zealand Government
Building a stronger health and disability system
By: New Zealand Government
Todd Muller Announces Caucus Reshuffle
By: New Zealand National Party
Winston Peters on EU travel: 'We're not going to compromise our country's health'
Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-start COVID Rebuild
By: New Zealand Government
Government Strengthens Managed Isolation System
By: New Zealand Government
ACT Announces List For 2020 General Election
By: ACT New Zealand
New Zealand To Host Virtual APEC In 2021
By: New Zealand Government
Clark’s Resignation Was Too Little, Too Late
By: New Zealand National Party
Taxpayer Victory! David Clark Resigns
By: New Zealand Taxpayers' Union
PM Jacinda Ardern on David Clark's resignation as Health Minister: 'It is one I agree with'
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media