The new changes to whitebait regulations announced by the government won’t bring back native fish from breaking point, said Forest & Bird freshwater advocate Annabeth Cohen.
The new rules include a shorter season and changes to the gear allowed, with the regulations to roll out over three seasons.
“The most basic controls for a fishery are requiring a fishing license, establishing a catch limit, and having better data collection, but they are missing from the changes announced. The essentials of fishery management are nowhere to be seen,” said Cohen.
“Right now, we are as far as we can possibly be from a sustainable fishery.”
“Introduced species, like trout, have a more regulated fishery than our threatened native species.”
She added that the announcement was a “major disappointment”.
“What most people have requested in consultation processes, over and over again, are the same basic controls any legitimate fishery has: a catch limit, fishing license, and some form of data collection,” said Cohen.
“Native freshwater fish face daily threats of habitat destruction, pollution, predation, and the effects of climate change.
“The Minister for Conservation and DOC need to stop wasting time on fluff around the edges and examine real management options that can actually help bring back our threatened native species, and restore the freshwater ecosystems we all depend on.”