An inanga whitebait
Image: Stephen Moore | ©


Submissions closed 16 March 2020. You can read the submissions people gave when the public was asked how we could manage whitebait in New Zealand.

On this page:


Whitebait are an important part of Kiwi culture. They are taonga to iwi and fishing for whitebait is an important tradition for many New Zealanders. But changes are needed to conserve whitebait species and ensure the future of whitebait fishing.

Four of the six whitebait species are classified as 'at risk' or 'threatened'. From 2018, we have been working with New Zealanders on how to ensure healthy and restored whitebait populations and provide for a sustainable fishery.

In January 2020 the Minister of Conservation released a discussion document detailing proposed management changes for whitebait:

  • a management goal for the six species fished as whitebait
  • management outcomes for the whitebait fishery
  • amendments to the whitebait fishing regulations
  • to phase out export of the whitebait species.

Improving whitebait management discussion document (PDF, 7,631K)

Summary of our proposals including possible locations for whitebait refuges

Submissions on these proposals closed on 16 March 2020.

Read the submissions

Read a DOC summary

DOC has prepared a summary of the 11,000 submissions received during the consultation. This provides an overview of all the submissions received in response to the Discussion Document released in early 2020.

Improving whitebait management – Summary of submissions (PDF, 1,339K)

The document provides

  • information about the characteristics of the individuals, groups and organisations that responded to the call for submissions
  • a summary of their views to the proposed options to change the whitebait regulations or alternatives
  • other factors that submitters considered important for DOC to consider – either about the content of submissions or the decision making process

Read individual or group submissions

All submissions received by DOC can be accessed via our Cerberus FTP site using the links below.

Note: This links to our Cerberus download site. Get help on downloading files.

Navigating the submissions

Find specific submissions made via:

  • email by using the filter at the top of the page and entering the last name and initials of the individual or the organisational name of a given group
  • the DOC website by downloading the batch files named 'throughdocwebsite' and using the search function – click the arrow to the right of each file and select 'download' to view them
  • the Forest & Bird website by opening this document and using the search function
  • West Coast Whitebaiters’ Association website by opening this document and using the search function
How to use search functions

To quick access the search function in your PDF reader or within your browser, press CTRL and F together. You can then type an individual or group name to navigate to the submission you need.

What happened next

The over 11,000 submitted responses to the consultation informed DOC’s final recommendations to the Minister of Conservation.

Whitebaiting regulations were changed for the 2021 season.


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