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Changes to bait regulations improve species sustainability

By on June 2, 2021 0

Changes to the white bait regulations will improve the sustainability of endangered species while ensuring that Kiwis can continue the tradition of fishing for food from their local river in the future, said the acting Minister of Conservation, Dr Ayesha Verrall.

“White baits are a valuable part of Aotearoa’s native biodiversity and are taonga and mahinga kai for Maori,” said Ayesha Verrall.

“However, four of the six white bait species are threatened or threatened with extinction. Although fishing pressure is a contributing factor, habitat loss, environmental degradation, impeded passage of fish in river systems, loss of spawning sites and introduced fish species also impact White Bait Numbers.

“White bait regulations have not been revised since the 1990s and changes are long overdue. We want to ensure that the white bait fishery survives and thrives, for all New Zealanders, while maintaining long-standing traditions and encouraging responsible fishing practices, ”said Ayesha Verrall. .

The planned changes are consistent with the government’s clear commitment to protect, preserve and restore our natural heritage and biodiversity. They address the issues identified and focus on practicality and common sense and follow two years of engagement, including a consultation on proposed regulations that attracted more than 11,500 submissions.

“The immediate impact on the majority of fishermen will be minimal. People will still be using the same gear and fishing in the same places when the season opens.

“The changes underway will better align practices nationally, improve the long-term sustainability of the fishery, and support low-volume recreational fishermen. They do not affect customary fishing rights.

“Two years of commitment to improving white bait management, including consulting on regulatory changes, has shown how passionate New Zealanders are about bait and bait fishing.

“DOC has also been asked to collect more evidence on the state of the white bait fishery, including further monitoring, scientific assessment and economic analysis. Better information is essential to ensure the effectiveness of the white bait management program and any need for additional program changes or regulations are identified.

“Work will continue to improve spawning sites, ensuring that national rules recognize fish needs, in partnership with mana whenua and working closely with white baits, conservation groups and others. interested in white bait, ”said Dr Ayesha Verrall.

The changes will be phased in over three seasons, to facilitate practical implementation on the ground, as those affected adjust to the new practices.

Season 2021, the changes will include:

Fishing will be prohibited within 20 meters of structures such as weirs and groynes where fish congregate.

The screens will be the only legal diversion device and limited to a maximum length of three meters.

The rule that only one net can be used when fishing from a stand will be extended to all of New Zealand.

The maximum incursion of fishing gear (excluding stands) in a watercourse will be a quarter of its width, nationally.

The minimum fixed distance between fixed fishing gear (not supports) will be 20 meters.

Fishing can only take place in estuaries and near river mouths nationwide. This is already the case on the west coast.

More white bait refugees in the water bodies draining from Abel Tasman and Fiordland National Parks will help protect white bait populations, like the white bait refugees already in place on the coast Where is.

The proposal is to extend the current exclusion in place from Yates Point to Puysegur Point, to also include the south coast up to the mouth of the Waitutu River. Martins Bay (although it is in Fiordland National Park) is not offered as a refuge.

Season 2022, changes will include:

The season to be shortened from September 1 to October 30 for all of New Zealand

Season 2023 changes will include:

Overall length limit for six meter fishing gear for all of New Zealand

(With contributions from the New Zealand government press release)

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