Public views sought on whitebait
Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage is inviting everyone with an interest in whitebait to share their views on whitebait management in an online survey and/or at drop-in sessions around the country.
“Whitebait are a key part of Kiwi culture. They’re taonga to iwi and fishing for whitebait is an important tradition for many New Zealanders,” says Eugenie.
“We also know that whitebait are in decline. Four of the six species that make up the whitebait fishery are threatened or at risk of extinction, and they face significant pressures – degraded habitats, poor water quality, obstacles to fish passage such as culverts and in some areas heavy fishing pressure.
“We must reverse the decline of whitebait and address these pressures if we want healthy whitebait species and a sustainable fishery.”
Eugenie Sage said that by holding drop-in sessions throughout the country, the Department of Conservation is seeking to gather views from a wide range of people and answer their questions about whitebait.
“DOC is also running an online survey so people can share their observations on the state of whitebait populations in their region and provide their views.”
A Whitebait Working Group has been formed involving people with expertise in fisheries and species management, ecology, habitat restoration, commercial and recreational fishing, and mātauranga Māori to help develop an issues and options document.
DOC will include public feedback from the online survey and drop-in sessions, along with the views of the Whitebait Working Group and iwi, in a report outlining the issues and options for the future of whitebait management.
Eugenie Sage said public views and the issues and options report will help identify the next steps for restoring whitebait species to healthy populations and ensuring a sustainable whitebait fishery.
Visit DOC’s website for the whitebait survey and FAQs: https://www.doc.govt.nz/get-involved/have-your-say/all-consultations/2018/improving-whitebait-management/