Otago whitebaiters are flouting regulations and threatening
the fishery's sustainability, the Department of Conservation
Doc had been ''inundated'' with reports of bad whitebaiting
behaviour in coastal Otago, senior ranger Pete Ravenscroft
''We've been hearing about whitebaiters breaking every rule
at just about every river in the region.''
In the past month Doc's coastal Otago office had received
calls almost every day from concerned whitebaiters who
reported other people were leaving nets unattended,
whitebaiting at night, using oversize nets, dumping fish on
river banks and behaving poorly in general, Mr Ravenscroft
The Clutha and Taieri river mouths appeared to be hot spots.
There was no excuse for breaching whitebaiting regulations,
''They are simple and have been in place for years. If we
don't take care of this fishery now we will destroy it for
Of particular concern were reports of whitebaiters dumping
glass eels (juvenile longfin eels) on the banks of the
Clutha. Whitebaiters were prohibited from discarding fish on
Doc reminded whitebaiters that all fishing gear, including
boards and deflectors attached to nets, should not exceed 6m
More people were whitebaiting on Otago's river banks this
season than ever before, and some were leaving equipment on
public land to reserve favourite spots, Mr Ravenscroft said.
''While not illegal, this kind of behaviour is just not on
... public land is there for everyone to enjoy,'' he said.
Doc thanked those who reported illegal behaviour, and said
rangers would visit whitebaiting locations over the next few
weeks to ensure all whitebaiters played by the rules.
The season ends on November 30 in all areas other than the
South Island's West Coast and the Chatham Islands.