Introduction

A survey of whitebait spawning sites is underway in the Wairoa region, in a continued effort to safeguard the fishery for future generations of whitebaiters.

A survey of whitebait spawning sites is underway in the Wairoa region, in a continued effort to safeguard the fishery for future generations of whitebaiters.

“Just where are the whitebait laying their eggs?” is the question being asked by Department of Conservation biodiversity ranger Helen Jonas.

DOC ranger Hans Rook looks for inanga eggs in the Huramua Stream, a tributary of the Wairoa River.
DOC ranger Hans Rook looks for inanga eggs in the Huramua Stream, a tributary of the Wairoa River

"If we can find out where whitebait are spawning, then we can take measures to protect these sites if needed. The end result is a win for all, especially for lovers of whitebait fritters."

Whitebait have exacting requirements for suitable spawning sites, where they lay their eggs. If these sites are protected they will return every year. 

“Spawning sites are where next year's fish come from,” Helen said. 

She is keen to hear from anyone with local knowledge of spawning sites, on public or private land, from the Mohaka, Wairoa, Waihua, Nuhaka, and Kopuawhara Rivers and anywhere in-between.

Anyone with information they would like to share should contact Helen at the Wairoa Office on +64 6 838 8252.

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