The Department of Conservation (DOC) reminds the public that the whitebait season ends in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and East Coast districts today.
As in previous years, a few have spoilt it for the many. Overall, there are 14 people on 21 charges in the Gisborne Whakatane Area awaiting prosecution with one repeat offender, which is disappointing, says Programme Manager, Biodiversity Assets James Holborow.
“This season our operations included the NZ Police who acted on our behalf seizing nets from five people for fishing illegally at night outside the hours of the regulations.
“DOC staff also responded to reports from the public of non-compliance with the regulations. A person will be appearing on charges in relation to net and screen exceeding six metres in length which was the only Gisborne offence”, says Mr Holborow.
People found to be offending against the Whitebait regulations can be fined up to $5000 and have their fishing gear confiscated.
The season was quite poor in the Eastern Bay of Plenty due to three flood events during the whitebait spawning period. Catches were also quite low compared to last season and no reports of any good catches in the East Coast district.
“Next year we will continue to focus on known hot spots and a no tolerance approach of no warnings being issued and people being prosecuted”, says Mr Holborow.