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DOC on 2011 whitebait season

2011 whitebait season

The 2011 whitebait season opens on Monday 15 August for all areas of New Zealand, except the West Coast and the Chatham Islands.

“Whitebait species are particularly vulnerable this year due to earthquake damage to known spawning grounds which may have a harmful effect on fish numbers,” says Anita.

“It is particularly important that fishermen only take enough fish for their needs to conserve these native species and ensure there will be whitebait in future years.”

Department of Conservation (DOC) Ranger Anita Spencer asks whitebaiters to ensure that they only fish rivers that have been declared free from contaminants from sewage overflows after the earthquake. At present the waterways that are closed to fishing are all of the Avon and Heathcote rivers, including the estuary.

From Monday, DOC staff and honorary rangers will be patrolling waterways to ensure compliance with the rules and to answer any questions.

Whitebait catch mainly consists of the young of three native fish species, inanga, kōaro and banded kōkopu, with inanga forming about 99% of the Canterbury catch. They spend part of their life in freshwater and part in the sea.

The hours for fishing are 5 am to 8 pm until daylight saving when it goes forward an hour.

A brochure outlining the fishing regulations and information is available from DOC offices or on the website http://www.doc.govt.nz/whitebait. Up-to-date information on the state of the rivers throughout the season is available on the Environment Canterbury website.

Background information

Canterbury District Health Board media release ‘Whitebait from city rivers off the menu this season’

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