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Forest and Bird are calling for better whitebaiting rules as the west coast season ends, coming to a close for this year.
The government and new Minister for Conservation must ‘heed’ the public’s interest and support for better whitebaiting rules.
The Department of Conservation (DOC) released their summary of submissions on the current whitebait consultation, where they acknowledged strong support from both fishers and non-fishers for a license and catch limit to manage and monitor the whitebait fishery.
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Forest And Bird had also done a submission to call for a license requirement and a catch limit on both commercial and recreational fishing and data collection methods.
“It is now up to the Minister of Conservation and the Minister for the Environment to save our whitebait species from over-fishing, water pollution, and habitat destruction, so they can thrive and be enjoyed by future generations,” says Forest & Bird’s Freshwater Advocate Annabeth Cohen.
“Our whitebait species are at risk or threatened with extinction. They travel through a largely unregulated fishery at the start of their lives and go on to live in habitats where bottom lines for pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus are still not good enough.”
Whitebait are at risk of extinction. They travel through unregulated fishery at the start of their lives and go on to live in habitats where pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus are a threat to them.
“Native fish species in New Zealand are experiencing death by a thousand cuts. Over-fishing is a pressure that we can alleviate right now. We need the Government to prioritise our incredible native fish and ensure they will be here for future generations.”
“Forest & Bird is calling on the Government to strengthen the regulations as soon as possible, and avoid another season without basic rules in place to protect these special fish,” says Annabeth Cohen.