Whitebaiting: No to rocks, yes to riverbanks

Opening day whitebaiter David Brennan has his first drag from the rocks on the banks of the Grey...
Opening day whitebaiter David Brennan has his first drag from the rocks on the banks of the Grey River in Blaketown on Wednesday morning. PHOTO: GREYMOUTH STAR
West Coast whitebaiters were out in force on Wednesday, making the most of the perfect opening day weather, although confusion reigned as to whether it was allowed at Level 3 or not.

Seasoned Greymouth whitebaiters Bruce McNish and Kevin Herring were cleaning their rocks in anticipation of the first tide, although both admitted being uncertain whether they were allowed to fish for whitebait or not.

Government rules, changed at the weekend, prohibit fishing from rocks but permit whitebaiting from riverbanks as long as Covid-19 rules are followed.

‘‘We don't really know if we can or if we can't, so right now we are getting ready and may not start until Level 2 kicks in.

‘‘The confusion continues,’’ Mr Herring said.

However, other whitebaiters spoken to said they did not take too much notice.

Alan Smith said he heard that people could catch whitebait at Level 3, so he decided to try his luck.

Under Level 3, police have been called to help patrol the main rivers.

West Coast police prevention team manager Senior Sergeant Mark Kirkwood said their interpretation of the rules was that whitebaiters could fish from riverbanks.

‘‘We don't have any problem with people whitebaiting along the banks of the Grey River,’’ Snr Sgt Kirkwood said.

- By Viv Logie

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