Southland whitebaiter not happy with 'chick scientists'

Recreational whitebaiter and whitebait working group member Ken Cochrane addresses about 200...
Recreational whitebaiter and whitebait working group member Ken Cochrane addresses about 200 people at a Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association public meeting in Invercargill yesterday. SRWA president Roger McNaughton looks on. PHOTO: KAREN PASCO
Plans to regulate whitebaiting have been influenced by "chick scientists" who seem to think whitebaiters should fish in their jandals and celebrate catching enough for a patty by sitting down and singing Kumbaya, a Southland Fish & Game councillor and whitebaiter says.

The Department of Conservation had its own agenda from the start of the proposal process — and legal action might be necessary, Ken Cochrane told 200 people at a meeting organised by the Southland Recreational Whitebaiters Association in Invercargill yesterday.

He urged whitebaiters to include whitebait licences and regional specific rules in submissions to the proposed Department of Conservation (Doc) whitebait fishing changes, so further legal action — such as a judicial review — could take place if tabled proposals were put in place.

Doc proposes to standardise and improve management of whitebait fishing across New Zealand. Included in a 125-page proposal document are suggestions relating to season length, fishing practices, upstream fishing, whitebait refuges and banning exports.

Mr Cochrane was one of the 18 members of a working group who met to give their points of view in relation to the whitebait fishery. The group included representatives from matauranga Maori, commercial and recreational fishing, habitat restoration, fisheries and species management, and freshwater policy and ecology.

Mr Cochrane said the group was ‘‘biaised’’ by Doc freshwater scientists and he was sceptical about how the process would pan out.

"I sat there on day one and I thought ‘I’m listening to a whole bunch of chick scientists who, if you look at the view they were pitching, everybody in New Zealand should not shave their armpits . .. should whitebait in their jandals ... after they catch one patty for tea they should sit down, hold hands and sing Kumbaya’."

He believed a fishing licence for whitebaiting was needed to help Doc raise money so it could undertake more research about different species and how current fishing methods affected them.

It was also imperative there were regional rules, as every region had quite different conditions and ways of fishing, he said.

A large part of the working party’s discussions had concerned commercial whitebait fishing in New Zealand. However, when the proposal came out, there was no mention of it, he said.

"I’m urging the members of SRWA to lodge their submission to the Government before March 2 to have emphasis on licence to fish for whitebait and a regional rules concept.

"They are the two biggest subjects that will allow for a judicial review if the proposals are put in place.

"They are an important part of the process to allow for action later on."

SRWA president Roger McNaughton yesterday read out the discussion document submission the organisation was considering sending to Doc.

Suggestions in the proposed submission included addressing commercial take issues, introducing a licence system and restricting to one net per whitebaiting stand.

Addressing the crowd, Mr MCNaughton said, "We’re all pretty uptight about what’s going on."

"The changes, if implemented, will have a huge impact on our recreational sport."

Submissions on the proposal were to have closed on March 2 but yesterday Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced that had been extended to March 16.

Doc will then present the document to the Minister of Conservation and the Cabinet will consider what changes may be appropriate.

 - Karen Pasco

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"The Department of Conservation had its own agenda from the start of the proposal process".
Of course they do, they are a law unto themselves and what doc wants, doc gets and no amount of 'consultation' will change their minds.

""I sat there on day one and I thought ‘I’m listening to a whole bunch of chick scientists who, if you look at the view they were pitching, everybody in New Zealand should not shave their armpits . .. should whitebait in their jandals ... after they catch one patty for tea they should sit down, hold hands and sing Kumbaya’."

OK Boomer.
Perhaps you would be happier if we let you kill and eat them all then you would have to find a new hobby anyway.

Oh Ken, one secret of debating with and influencing people with opposing views is to avoid personal attacks and not hand them a stick to beat you with. You're a ......... (see).

Oh dear, poor old soul. A bit confused and doddery. I bet that was an awkward meeting.

Hello Southland?? Can you hear me? It's the 21st Century calling. Seems you're having a few problems with your messaging, what with the schoolgirls having to ask a counsellor for permission to wear trousers, and well-educated women with tertiary qualifications being mistaken for "chick scientists" an' all. You might still have a few youngsters knocking about down there, you know, the odd bod under 30, who might be able to give you a hand up out of the primordial swamp and into the new millennium. Watch out for those angry fossils though, they do have a habit of embarrassing themselves if you try to bring them into the light. Wishing you all the best with your efforts.

I didn't think DoC would have to resort to infiltrating the WB scene with people who make dumb statements in public in order get the whole "sport" shut down quicker. A little too obvious, and anyway, doesn't science provide enough evidence to enable an informed decision???

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