The Green Party is pleased to see new whitebaiting measures, announced today, to establish a more consistent management regime across the country, but we must go further, faster, to protect our native taonga.
“Whitebait are taonga to iwi, and for some New Zealanders fishing for whitebait is an annual tradition,” says Green Party spokesperson for Conservation Eugenie Sage.
“The Greens are disappointed the Government has progressed so few of the original DOC proposals for a range of whitebait refuges to protect vulnerable whitebait species.
“Four of the six native fish species in the whitebait catch are threatened or at risk of extinction, and we need to act with urgency to halt their decline.
“The proposals for refuges in rivers downstream of Abel Tasman and Fiordland National Parks are welcome – but they don’t go far enough.
“Very few rivers or reaches of rivers across the country are closed to whitebaiting.
“We need significantly more safe havens where whitebait can migrate upstream and breed free from fishing pressure.
“The Greens want to ensure whitebait populations recover to healthy levels, so the species thrives and New Zealanders can fish them for generations to come.”