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Commercial whitebaiting must end, say researchers

Commercial whitebaiting must end, say researchers

Media release
7am Thursday, 6 July 2017
For immediate use

Commercial whitebaiting is driving threatened native fish species towards extinction and must end, researchers will tell the Primary Production Select Committee at parliament today.

The fish that are known collectively as “whitebait” are the juveniles of five native fish species, including kōkopu, inanga and kōaro. Four out of the five species are at risk of or threatened with extinction but, despite this, it is still legal to sell and export these endangered species.

“You wouldn’t expect to find kiwi on the menu at a restaurant and you shouldn’t find kōkopu on the menu either,” says freshwater ecology researcher, Kyleisha Foote.

“It is crazy that, even though we know that these fish might be driven to extinction, we are still allowing them to be sold and exported.”

“This precious wildlife, that lives nowhere else in the world, has been predicted to be extinct by 2040 if we do nothing. It’s time we gave our native fish the protection they deserve and end commercial whitebaiting.”

Researchers Kyleisha Foote and Pierce McNie presented their petition to end commercial whitebaiting in March this year.

They will speak to the Primary Production Select Committee at 10am today calling for a review of whitebaiting regulation to initiate a ban on commercial whitebaiting.


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