Whitebait season starts on Sunday 15 August
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionAs the whitebait fishing season gets underway this Sunday (15 August), DOC is calling on whitebaiters to only take what they need to help sustain the fishery and enable good runs in future years.
Date: 11 August 2010
As the whitebait fishing season gets underway this Sunday (15 August), the Department of Conservation is calling on whitebaiters to only take what they need to help sustain the fishery and enable good runs in future years.
The whitebait fishing season runs from 15 August to 30 November over most of New Zealand. The season on the South Island West Coast is from 1 September to 14 November and on the Chatham Islands it goes from 1 December to the last day of February.
DOC Nelson/Marlborough freshwater specialist Martin Rutledge said whitebaiters could help sustain the whitebait fishery by letting some fish escape the nets so they can mature and breed.
“Whitebait are the young of native fish and sustainable management of fish populations is needed for whitebait to be plentiful in future years. Four of the five main whitebait species are declining in abundance, including inanga, the most commonly caught species.
“It is in whitebaiters’ interests to abide by the Whitebait Fishing Regulations as these help maintain healthy fish populations and the whitebait fishery. They also help everyone to get their fair share.
“Maintaining whitebait habitat and fish passage is also important. Whitebait need clean water and sufficient habitat, including wetlands, swamps and bush-covered streams. They also require unimpeded access between the sea and their freshwater habitats.
“Whitebaiters are reminded to Check, Clean, Dry whitebaiting gear when moving between or up waterways to prevent the spread of didymo algae and other aquatic pests. This helps protect the whitebait fishery and our precious freshwater environments.”
DOC rangers will be patrolling waterways to check people are complying with the regulations but if people see anyone breaking the rules they are asked to let DOC know by calling its 24-hour emergency number, 0800 DOCHOT/0800 36 24 68.
Any aquatic life caught in nets that isn’t wanted as part of the whitebait catch should be returned alive to the water. It can include mature or gutty whitebait, bullies, smelt, trout and the young of eels. It is a legal requirement to do this because these species form an integral part of freshwater ecosystems.
DOC Nelson/Marlborough Freshwater Technical Support Officer
+64 3 546 3142
DOC Nelson/Marlborough Communications Advisor
ph +64 3 546 3146