DoC reinforcing need to protect whitebait habitat

Whitebait, or "white gold", as they are sometimes called. File picture by Liam Clayton

The whitebaiting season has started and the Department of Conservation is reminding whitebaiters to follow the rules to protect the fishery.

There are no changes to the regulations for the 2019 season.

The season runs from August 15 to November 30 everywhere except the West Coast of the South Island, where it goes from September 1 to November 14.

Whitebait are juveniles of six species of native fish — giant kokopu, banded kokopu, shortjaw kokopu, inanga, koaro and common smelt.

Those that escape the whitebait net grow into adults ranging from 10 to 60 centimetres long.

DoC freshwater scientist Jane Goodman says whitebait are iconic in New Zealand.

“Unfortunately, four of the six whitebait species are categorised as either threatened or at risk of extinction.

“We need to ensure we protect their habitat, especially spawning areas, and fish for them responsibly and sustainably.

“It’s good to see work being done to protect and restore whitebait habitat, such as planting and fencing off spawning grounds from stock and the restoration of adult habitat.

“People can also help these fish by contacting their local DoC or regional council office if they see overhanging culverts or other barriers that stop whitebait migrating.”

During the season, whitebaiting is permitted between 5am and 8pm or from 6am to 9pm when Daylight Saving starts.

DoC administers whitebaiting regulations that cover methods of fishing, location of whitebaiting sites, legal fishing times and net size.

Illegal whitebaiting carries a maximum fine of $5000 and whitebaiting equipment can be seized.

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

The whitebaiting season has started and the Department of Conservation is reminding whitebaiters to follow the rules to protect the fishery.

There are no changes to the regulations for the 2019 season.

The season runs from August 15 to November 30 everywhere except the West Coast of the South Island, where it goes from September 1 to November 14.

Whitebait are juveniles of six species of native fish — giant kokopu, banded kokopu, shortjaw kokopu, inanga, koaro and common smelt.

Those that escape the whitebait net grow into adults ranging from 10 to 60 centimetres long.

DoC freshwater scientist Jane Goodman says whitebait are iconic in New Zealand.

“Unfortunately, four of the six whitebait species are categorised as either threatened or at risk of extinction.

“We need to ensure we protect their habitat, especially spawning areas, and fish for them responsibly and sustainably.

“It’s good to see work being done to protect and restore whitebait habitat, such as planting and fencing off spawning grounds from stock and the restoration of adult habitat.

“People can also help these fish by contacting their local DoC or regional council office if they see overhanging culverts or other barriers that stop whitebait migrating.”

During the season, whitebaiting is permitted between 5am and 8pm or from 6am to 9pm when Daylight Saving starts.

DoC administers whitebaiting regulations that cover methods of fishing, location of whitebaiting sites, legal fishing times and net size.

Illegal whitebaiting carries a maximum fine of $5000 and whitebaiting equipment can be seized.

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

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