Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


With the 2016 whitebait season beginning later this month we'd like to remind whitebaiters to be aware of regulations.

Date:  08 August 2016

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.

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 adults ranging from 10 to 60 cm long.

DOC freshwater scientist Jane Goodman said whitebait are iconic in New Zealand. 

"Unfortunately four of the five species are categorised as either threatened or at risk due to declining numbers and habitat. Fishers are encouraged to only take what they need and to think about the sustainability of the fishery for future generations."

"It's good to see more conservation measures such as planting and fencing off spawning grounds and adult habitat."

"We urge people to contact their local DOC or Regional Council office if they see overhanging culverts or other barriers that stop whitebait migrating," Jane said.

Whitebaiting is permitted between 5am and 8pm or between 6am and 9pm when daylight saving starts on 28 September 2016.

We will be patrolling whitebaiting sites and talking to whitebaiters throughout the season to ensure people are complying with the regulations.

We administer regulations that cover fishing methods, location, legal fishing times and net size. Illegal whitebaiting carries a maximum fine of $5,000 and whitebaiting equipment can be seized.


Jane Goodman
DOC freshwater scientist
Phone: +64 3 546 3144 

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