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New Whitebaiting Season End-date And Survey

DOC is asking whitebaiters for feedback on their fishing experience as the season draws to a close.

The whitebaiting season will finish at 9pm on 30 October for all New Zealand, except the Chatham Islands. The new shortened season will take pressure off some of the most threatened whitebait species as they migrate upriver later in the year.

“DOC is eager to hear from whitebaiters about how the season went and gather valuable information to improve the management of the fishery,” DOC Aquatic Director Kirstie Knowles says.

“We’ve developed a survey of whitebaiters that covers fishing techniques, preferred whitebaiting rivers, the people who fish them, as well as issues of most concern to whitebaiters.

“The whitebait fishery will benefit from the survey results collected. This baseline data will provide the direction to actively support a long-term sustainable fishery.”

Kirstie Knowles says the survey is a key part of whitebait fishery data gathering that includes DOC rangers recording whitebait activity at the river and aerial photography in hard-to-reach places.

“The better the data, the better we’ll be able to support management of a sustainable whitebait fishery into the future.”

To complete the whitebaiting survey, visit DOC’s website www.doc.govt.nz/whitebaiting. Taking part in the survey is voluntary and anonymous. Participants can choose to go into a prize draw for a $100 fishing store voucher.

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The new season end-date is part of a raft of regulatory changes to make the regulations nationally consistent and the whitebait fishery more sustainable. The changes include last year’s introduction of changes to gear, spacing along the river and two new whitebait refuges.

Previously, the whitebaiting season in most of the country ran from 15 August to 30 November, while the West Coast season ran from 1 September to 14 November. The Chatham Islands retain their whitebaiting season of 1 December until the last day of February.

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