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“WHITEBAIT”


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2009, 02:48:25 pm »


Promise of a feed will see whitebaiters out in force

By YVETTE BATTEN - Taranaki Daily News | Wednesday, 15 August 2007

WHITEBAIT SEASON: DOC marine ranger Callum Lilley will be patrolling fishing areas to make sure whitebaiters abide by the rules this season. MIKE SCOTT/Taranaki Daily News.

WHITEBAIT SEASON: DOC marine ranger Callum Lilley will be patrolling
fishing areas to make sure whitebaiters abide by the rules this season.
— MIKE SCOTT/Taranaki Daily News


Taranaki rivers will today be lined with scoopers and netters marking the start of the whitebaiting season.

The Mokau and Waitara rivers are expected to have abundant stock, particularly in the tidal zone.

"I would think some people will get a feed tomorrow," said Department of Conservation (DOC) programme manager biodiversity Bryan Williams yesterday.

"The first day is pretty much pot luck. You don't know what is going to happen."

But it's not all fun and games. During the season DOC officers will be patrolling fishing areas to ensure whitebaiters are abiding by the rules.

Last year DOC seized several unattended set nets. People shouldn't stray more than 10 metres from their nets.

"If we come along and find a net unattended, we'll just seize it," he said.

Fishing is allowed between 5am to 8pm from the start of the season.

When daylight saving starts, whitebaiting is allowed from 6am to 9pm.

Mr Williams says people should avoid blocking waterways and setting nets or screens more than 6m long.

Offenders could face fines of up to $5000.

More information is available at any DOC office.

The whitebait season finishes on November 30.

Fish and Game officer Allen Stancliff says to avoid a didymo outbreak, whitebaiters need to check, clean and dry their gear if they're fishing in more than one river.

"The only safe way is to treat each river as if the one that you're in has got didymo and the next one hasn't," he said.

The check, clean and dry routine involves checking for any rock-snot on equipment, cleaning it with a 5% detergent solution and then making sure the item is dry.

As yet didymo, which coats riverbeds in brownish goo, hasn't made it into North Island waterways.

"The goal is to keep it out of the North Island and certainly out of Taranaki," Mr Stancliff said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dailynews/4164816a6554.html



Mad dash for top whitebaiting spots predicted

By ROBYN BRISTOW - The Press | Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A queue of anxious whitebaiters was expected to line up at a locked gate at Waikuku Beach this morning to get to the Ashley River mouth for the opening of the season.

Fishermen are not allowed through the gate until 4am, an hour before fishing can start, as part of new rules agreed last week by the Waimakariri District Council.

Whitebaiters predict a mad dash for favourite fishing spots once through the gate and along a dedicated access track through the dunes agreed to by Environment Canterbury (ECan) and the district council.

Keyholder permits will give vehicles access across a small section of the ECan-managed coastal marine area (CMA), and the right to use the gate between 4am and 9pm. The hours change to 5am to 10pm with daylight saving, through to the end of the season on November 30.

Last year whitebaiters, the council and ECan were at loggerheads over access because the historic route from the gate, which could be accessed 24 hours a day, crossed through a large area of the CMA.

Whitebaiters carried dinghies because the rules allowed them to use the route if they were launching a boat.

A staunch opponent of vehicles having any access to the beach, district councillor Jo Kane, yesterday slammed the decision to give whitebaiters access through the dunes.

She said the councils were pandering to one group's needs at the expense of other beach users and she had never seen such a small group have such "telling wins against the rules".

Kane said she moved to restrict the hours of access through the gate, despite opposing vehicles on beaches, because she wanted to stop people camping on the beach and causing health and safety problems.

Fisherman and district councillor Robbie Brine said restricting the hours was "a nonsense" and the route selected through the dunes ridiculous, because it would cost the council a fortune to solidify the base and keep it passable once the sand dried out. He said whitebaiters wanted to be able to fish without the imposition of rules and regulations that "didn't really seem to work".

Ashley Fishermen's Association spokeswoman Noeline Sintes said that while the association was pleased to have access, the restricted hours would encourage people to camp by their fishing spot and drive up the beach from the Waimakariri River mouth to avoid the curfew at the gate.

However, Debbie Jefcoate, chairwoman of the Northern Pegasus Bay Coastal Management Steering Committee, which is working on a non-statutory plan for the coastal environment, believes the brakes have been put on vehicles driving up the beach.

She said they could cross the CMA on their way to the Ashley River mouth and would therefore need a permit.

Jefcoate said the committee had worked tirelessly on the access issue in time for this season and had sent its recommendations to ECan and the district council at the end of June.

Waimakariri Mayor Jim Gerard blamed the 11th-hour decisions on the length of time the steering committee had taken to find a resolution.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4164759a19719.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2009, 02:49:03 pm »


HERE, LITTLE WHITEBAIT: Brian Waldron of Marton is more interested in the Manawatu River than the sunrise on Wednesday 15 August, the opening day of the 2007 whitebait season, as he and others patiently waited for whitebait to swim upstream into nets. Mr Waldron and his father, Peter, made a 5am start at Foxton. Manawatu Standard.

HERE, LITTLE WHITEBAIT: Brian Waldron of Marton is more interested in the
Manawatu River than the sunrise on Wednesday 15 August, the opening day
of the 2007 whitebait season, as he and others patiently waited for whitebait
to swim upstream into nets. Mr Waldron and his father, Peter, made a 5am
start at Foxton. — Manawatu Standard
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2009, 02:50:40 pm »


Don't squabble, whitebaiters warned

By JARROD BOOKER - The New Zealand Herald | Wednesday, 15 August 2007

WHITEBAIT SEASON: Anne Collins on the banks of the Waimakariri River near Christchurch ready for the start of the whitebaiting season. SIMON BAKER.

WHITEBAIT SEASON: Anne Collins on the banks
of the Waimakariri River near Christchurch ready
for the start of the whitebaiting season.
— SIMON BAKER


The scramble for the delicacy has a long history of disputes over closely guarded fishing spots, leading to arguments, threats, sabotage of equipment, and sometimes violence.

The first whitebait of the season goes on sale in Auckland this week, and the Auckland Fish Market expects it to sell for between $77 and $90 a kilogram.

Restaurants are also looking forward to the first whitebait of the season. The chef and owner of Vinnies Restaurant in Herne Bay, Geoff Scott, said he was "always keen to get into that as soon as the first batch comes through". His classic "omelette-sized" whitebait fritter will sell for $28 to $30.

On the West Coast, where people flock in from around the country for the high quality of the fish, tensions between whitebaiters run high.

Last year a man fired a gun at whitebaiters setting up nets in a creek near Westport.

In 2003, the Grey District Council considered regulations after disputes over whitebaiting positions on the Grey River and alleged threats of retaliation from Christchurch gang members.

"There's always something somewhere. There's just so many whitebaiters coming to the Coast," said Jim Bushby, president of the West Coast Whitebaiters Association.

"There's a lot of tension especially if there are not a lot of whitebait around. I think it's just pettiness really. A lot of them need to grow up."

People from outside the region often came in with no knowledge of the local rules and this could upset the local whitebaiters, Mr Bushby said.

At up to $65 a kilogram in the early part of the season, whitebaiters often saw the chance to make a quick buck.

West Coast police commander Inspector Iain McKenzie said people needed to use common sense.

"In the past there have sometimes been minor problems that have escalated. We are just trying to ensure people respect people's rights and privacy, and people's property, and hopefully we won't be called in.

"A few people spoil it for the majority."

The Department of Conservation said whitebaiters should stick to the rules and enforcement officers would patrol fishing sites.

DoC says whitebaiters should be careful not to carry didymo, or other aquatic pests, between rivers.

All equipment should be cleaned and dried between use in different rivers.


Rules for a fine feed:

  • The whitebaiting season begins today and runs until November 30.
  • But on the West Coast the season is September 01 to November 14, and on the Chatham Islands from December 01 to February 29.
  • No person can use more than one whitebait net at a time.
  • People breaching whitebaiting regulations can be fined up to $5000.

Authorities are urging whitebaiters to avoid confrontation with rivals as the eagerly awaited fishing season starts today.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10457785



Whitebaiting for a lost father

By LAWRENCE GULLERY - Hawke's Bay Today | Wednesday, 15 August 2007

OPENING DAY: Whitebait specialist Steven Wilkins checks his net after scooping the waters of the Ngaruroro River. WARREN BUCKLAND.

OPENING DAY: Whitebait specialist Steven Wilkins
checks his net after scooping the waters of the
Ngaruroro River. — WARREN BUCKLAND


Steven Wilkins and Michael White know what it takes to make a good whitebait fritter.

"You just throw the whitebait in with a bit of egg, into a frying pan, and cook it up like an omelette," Michael said.

The two mates were at the Ngaruroro River mouth about 7.30am today scanning for the best spot for the start of the whitebait season.

The river was dotted with prospective whitebaiters, but Steven and Michael weren't saying where the best spots were.

"No, we can't say, it's a secret! But as long as you're here early enough to get a spot, I suppose that's all that matters," Steven said.

What is so special about whitebait, which lures dozens of men to the river's edge each year?

"You've never tasted one before? It's the taste of the whitebait and the season is only for two to three months of the year, that's why we're here," Steven said. "I don't like the whitebait further upstream, they get too ‘gutty’, I like to get them in the salt water."

Steven has been whitebaiting for about five years and is the son of Allan Wilkins, the Napier man who died when he fell in a drain last weekend.

This morning he was hoping to catch enough to take home for family and relatives, who had gathered for his father's funeral: "I'm down here every day, before and after work.

They (work mates) all want a taste of whitebait, they're always asking, ‘where's the whitebait’."

The season lasts until November 30.


http://www.hbtoday.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3745021



In search of elusive white gold

By IAIN HYNDMAN - Wanganui Chronicle | Thursday, 16 August 2007

SCARCE 'BAIT: Casting a net in the backyard is as close as Wanganui seamstress Jean Adams will get to whitebaiting.

SCARCE 'BAIT: Casting a net in the backyard is as close as
Wanganui seamstress Jean Adams will get to whitebaiting.


Discovering how whitebait were running in Wanganui on day one of the season yesterday proved as illusive as the delicacy itself.

Any whitebaiter worth his or her salt never reveals their best spots and yesterday those contacted by the Chronicle were almost as protective of their daily catch.

Regular fisher Tom Crawford revealed he had caught just five whitebait, while his mate fared slightly better with 20.

"The water was pretty dirty and didn't lift until close to high tide. I got just five and my mate 12, but I'll be back out again tomorrow," Mr Crawford said yesterday.

Others south of the city lamented the lack of the delicacy on day one, also blaming dirty water on the shortage.

"Lovely day for it, if only the whitebait were running. The streams were just too dirty," was a common comment by those contacted.

Long-time whitebaiter Trevor Healey, however, reluctantly disclosed he had snared a respectable 7oz, while flatly refusing to reveal even which side of city he had fished.

"You can't ask a whitebaiter where the best spots are, but I will say I caught 7oz and my brother caught a similar amount. If I got half a pound everyday I'd be a happy man," Mr Healey said.

Meanwhile, whitebait net maker, Jean Adams, will never catch any she has never been out whitebaiting in the 25 years she has produced nets.

"I'm always too busy making nets to cast them. I've never been out whitebaiting. My husband Bob goes out when health allows, although he didn't today."

"He's planning to take the caravan to Waitotara and camp out this season, though," Mrs Adams said yesterday.

Mrs Adams is better known for her sewing skills through her home-based business Jean's Sewing Repair Services, but at this time of year clothes take a back seat.

"I sewed about 30 nets for people last season and I'll probably go close to that again this year, but I couldn't tell you how they were running today." "I haven't had any feedback at all, but it was day one after all," she said.


http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3745102
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2009, 02:52:39 pm »


On your marks, get set ...

By SARAH BEDFORD - The Southland Times | Thursday, 16 August 2007

WAITING GAME: Long-time whitebaiter Brian Todd, of Fortrose, and Rup the dog wait to see what they net on the first day of the season at the Titaroa Locks yesterday. BARRY HARCOURT/The Southland Times.

WAITING GAME: Long-time whitebaiter Brian Todd, of Fortrose,
and Rup the dog wait to see what they net on the first day of
the season at the Titaroa Locks yesterday.
— BARRY HARCOURT/The Southland Times


It might have been the start of whitebait season yesterday but the little fish were proving elusive for keen fishermen.

Popular opening-day spots were inhabited with the usual enthusiasm but the fish were hard to find with rivers running high and dirty after weekend rain.

Southland Whitebaiters Association president Graham Gough took the day off work to head out near the Fortrose Estuary with hopes of a good catch.

The weather was perfect, he said.

"Flat calm, not a cloud in the sky and beautiful sunshine, but there's a dirty river and there's just really no whitebait around yet."

He caught only a couple of dozen whitebait but he planned to try again during the weekend when the water had hopefully cleaned up.

The story was similar in Canterbury, where fishermen braved the cold, but went largely unrewarded.

Some whitebaiting veterans said the water was too cold and they did not expect big runs until mid-September or early October.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/southlandtimes/4166115a6568.html



Cold comfort for first-day whitebaiters

By RYAN EVANS - The Timaru Herald | Thursday, 16 August 2007

South Canterbury whitebaiters had cold water poured over their hopes for a successful opening day when the season got under way yesterday.

By midday, Timaru whitebait enthusiast Andrew McKenzie was one of about eight people who had braved the cool water temperatures at the popular Smithfield spot in search of the elusive delicacy.

"I was once told if there's snow on the first lot of hills you can see you won't catch whitebait," he said.

And so it proved — Mr McKenzie had been out since 7am and had managed to land a grand total of 12 whitebait.

Two other hardy souls still had their nets in the water, but had fared little better.

Mr McKenzie said while few people had made it out to Smithfield yesterday, when the whitebait were running there could be anywhere from 50 to 100 people trying to land a feed.

He said there was a good spirit among those who fished at the spot.

"Everyone knows everyone else. It's like being part of a family.

"It doesn't matter what you do for a living, down here everyone's equal."

Despite the poor start Mr McKenzie said he was still looking forward to a good season.

"I usually get down about twice a week.

"When they're here they're here, when they're not they're not."

The Department of Conservation is reminding whitebaiters that officers will be patrolling fishing areas to ensure regulations are being followed.

DOC freshwater fish specialist Jane Goodman said the regulations are in place to protect whitebait species so they can be enjoyed by future generations.

"The regulations are designed to ensure that enough young fish get upstream to mature and subsequently create new whitebait for the future."

DOC is also asking whitebaiters to properly clean nets and other gear when fishing different spots to help prevent the further spread of didymo.

The South Canterbury season finishes on November 30. Fishing is permitted between 5am and 8pm or 6am and 9pm when daylight saving comes into effect in October.

Pamphlets outlining regulations can be obtained from DOC offices and sports shops.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaruherald/4165982a6010.html



Fritters on menu but few whitebait

By ROBYN BRISTOW - The Press | Thursday, 16 August 2007

CATCH IF YOU CAN: Dawn breaks as a whitebaiter prepares for the new season on the Ashley River in North Canterbury. Hardy souls undeterred by a crisp morning and few whitebait turned out in force at the Waimakariri River mouth for the season's opening yesterday. JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press.

CATCH IF YOU CAN: Dawn breaks as a whitebaiter prepares for
the new season on the Ashley River in North Canterbury. Hardy
souls undeterred by a crisp morning and few whitebait turned
out in force at the Waimakariri River mouth for the season's
opening yesterday. — JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press


Hardy souls undeterred by a crisp morning and few whitebait turned out in force at the Waimakariri River mouth for the season's opening yesterday.

Further north, at dawn on the Ashley River, there was a lone fisherwoman on the north bank.

By mid-morning, a smattering of fishermen had arrived at the mouth, where controversy has raged in recent years over estuary access.

However, no matter where they set their nets, the story was the same.

There was just a tiny amount of whitebait running, with one fisherman at the Waimakariri mouth catching only four by 10am, despite dipping his net into the river at 5am.

Some had a cupful of the delicacy, while others were silent on their catches.

Some who have fished in the rivers for decades said the water was too cold for the bait and they did not expect big runs until mid-September or early October.

Daryl Jones said it did not matter that there were few whitebait — it was a beautiful day to have breakfast on the beach.

"It's a lifestyle thing and I am enjoying the sun," he said at the Waimakariri mouth.

Jones, who lives at Kairaki Beach and chose a night-shift job so he could fish during the day, said he turned up at the beach at all hours to get a spot and set up in time for the legal 5am start time.

He said the season could start a few weeks later because of the scarcity of bait and be extended into December, instead of finishing on November 30.

A couple arrived at the Waimakariri mouth at 4.30am to follow a tradition of "wetting their nets" on the first day.

At the Ashley mouth, there was little action, apart from Environment Canterbury staff putting up signs outlining the rules around access to the mouth and directing traffic along a dedicated route.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4166074a19753.html



Region's whitebait season opens with whimper

By YVETTE BATTEN - Taranaki Daily News | Thursday, 16 August 2007

OPENING DAY: Jean Keith of Waitara chose to open the whitebaiting season rather than spend the day bowling. BRADLEY AMBROSE/Taranaki Daily News.

OPENING DAY: Jean Keith of Waitara chose to open the
whitebaiting season rather than spend the day bowling.
— BRADLEY AMBROSE/Taranaki Daily News


Taranaki's Jean Keith had no trouble choosing between bowls and whitebaiting yesterday.

She wasn't going to miss the start to her 40th year fishing from the banks of the Waitara River for anything.

"It was a matter of going to bowls or coming to opening day," she said.

And she fishes the "hard way" — scooping a large net through the water in time to the music wafting from her trusty little radio.

"I find it easier putting this net in the car rather than one with poles and screens," she said.

But bending and pulling the net through water can be hard on her muscles. "Tomorrow I will know all about it," she said.

While the effort was first class, the catch wasn't with barely enough for a fritter.

"Like any fisherman, we all hope it (this season) is going to be a good one," she said.

But the season wouldn't be opened properly unless the traditions were adhered to.

"The first few you catch, you put back in the water. It gives you a clean conscience," she said.

Mrs Keith can spend up to five days a week, during the season, at her sunny riverbank spot on the Karaka flats.

"Sometimes you've got to get up fairly early to get a posie. Once it gets out that they're running the river bank, it's like race day."

And at the end of the day she gives most of her catch away. She recommends turning the whitebait into a big fritter by cooking with four or five eggs in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Department of Conservation programme manager biodiversity Bryan Williams said yesterday's catch was average.

"Some people caught up to three kilograms, while others just got a cupful."

Mokau whitebaiters got the best catch, while Waitara and other smaller rivers weren't too good.

DOC had a couple of complaints about people fishing illegally, which were followed up, but the people had moved on. Copies of the regulations are available from the DOC offices.

"There's really no excuse," Mr Williams said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dailynews/4166174a6554.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2009, 02:53:57 pm »


Whitebait are likely to be on menu soon

By PETER SHUTT - The Timaru Herald | Friday, 17 August 2007

The whitebait season is here, and it's only a couple of weeks before anglers go west to join whitebaiters along the West Coast. With the East Coast bait areas opening mid-August, chances are you will soon be eating these tasty tiny fish.

Here's a common recipe you might need ...


Ingredients:

  • 250g cleaned whitebait
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

Method:

  • Make batter with egg, flour, milk and baking powder.
  • Add whitebait, salt and pepper.
  • Pour tablespoon lots on hot battered pan, cook and turn.

Alternatively:

  • Try stewing whitebait for about 5 minutes (in enough milk to cover them).
  • Then stir in 1 or 2 beaten eggs (enough to thicken the sauce according to the amount of whitebait).

Serve:

  • On buttered toast, garnished with parsley.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaruherald/4167378a6434.html



Veteran of 75 whitebait seasons

By JO MOIR - Wairarapa Times-Age | Friday, 17 August 2007

The fun is in the chase for 80-year-old Cathy Garrity, who has been whitebaiting since the age of 5.

The whitebait season began on Wednesday with more than 30 diehards braving the cold and windy elements to cast their nets in Lake Onoke.

Seventy-five years of experience at river mouths all over New Zealand almost makes Mrs Garrity a professional with a passion for the sport that draws her to the lake most days from Carterton.

"I just love it, the catch is much better than actually eating it."

Struggling to stand in the northerly winds sending shivers down my spine, I watched in admiration as Mrs Garrity positioned her net.

Most elderly woman would be tucked in front of the television with a blanket and cup of tea, but not her.

"I don't notice the cold because my blood runs hot when I see the liquid gold caught in my net."

The biggest catch at Lake Ferry on Wednesday was 1.8kg, which is nothing compared with the old days, she said.

"When I was very young we used to come home with four or five sugar bags full of whitebait."

Gavin Dennes, of Masterton, has been whitebaiting for 20 years and also joined the "regulars" for the first catch of the season.

"It's the locals here during the week but in the weekends you get the strangers come over from the Hutt and Wellington."

Mr Dennes said the opening day was one of the best on record in the past few years.

"It was cold and cloudy but there was a good crowd here and some people went home with three or four pounds (1.4kg to 1.8kg)."


http://times-age.co.nz/localnews/storydisplay.cfm?storyid=3745325
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2009, 02:54:29 pm »


Big effort for small fry

By MERVYN DYKES - Manawatu Standard | Saturday, 18 August 2007

SIMPLE LIFE: Whitebaiter Gus Schwamm, of Foxton Beach, sets up to catch the tide on the Manawatu River estuary. JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard.

SIMPLE LIFE: Whitebaiter Gus Schwamm, of Foxton Beach,
sets up to catch the tide on the Manawatu River estuary.
— JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard


The early-morning light is golden and the air crisp with an aftertaste of winter, but that doesn't stop the keener whitebaiters from turning out early at Foxton Beach.

There is a sense of having to earn your dinner and the fritters taste all the sweeter when they are flipped from the pan.

Among the more serious is Gus Schwamm, who cycles from his home in Foxton Beach to his favourite possie as early as he can and returns as late as he can.

He has a car but somehow his bike, with its cunning trailer built to carry his gear, seems more fitting for the annual ritual.

The season opened on August 15 and runs until November 30. Whitebait can be taken from 5am-8pm during New Zealand standard time and from 6am to 9pm during daylight saving, says the Department of Conservation's biodiversity manager in Palmerston North, Vivienne McGlynn.

That gives Mr Schwamm and his fellow whitebaiters a potential 15 hours of action — and he wants to be there for all of it.

There are little rituals to observe as well. "I throw the net in then have a (soft drink)," he says.

If he needs to go into the water, he doesn't mess about with fancy stuff like waders. It's off with the shoes and in there after your supper, socks and all.

DOC rangers and volunteers are patrolling popular whitebaiting areas this season to enforce regulations designed to give the tiny fish a sporting chance in the contest.

Mrs McGlynn says nets should not have a mouth larger than 4.5m measured on the inside of the frame and fishing gear must not cover more than a third of the stream width, to allow some of the whitebait to continue their migration and conserve the species.

"Whitebait are the young of six native fish species, some of which are threatened. Inanga are the most common netted, but you may also find species like koaro and banded kokopu among your catch.

"All of these native fish spend part of their life in fresh water and part in the sea," Mrs McGlynn says.

Catches have been small so far, according to reports, but if Mr Schwamm cycles home with a cupful of the delicacy, he's happy.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatustandard/4169773a6502.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #31 on: April 03, 2009, 02:55:43 pm »


Little wonders of whitebait

By PETA MATHIAS - The New Zealand Herald | Monday, 27 August 2007

Whitebait Tagliarini. JANNA DIXON.

    Whitebait Tagliarini. — JANNA DIXON

When I was a child, whitebait cost almost nothing and were plentiful. You could even get them in fish and chip shops. Now they cost a fortune but one must be careful not to buy the inferior, tasteless, frozen Chinese variety.

The West Coast is one of the few places in New Zealand where whitebait still run. During the season, September to November normally, people flock to the mouths of rivers and streams with their nets, or erect their stands to scoop up this delicacy that has an almost mythical status on that side of the South Island.

Whitebait nets can be purchased at any sports shop or hardware store in town, and come with all the strict rules and regulations.

All whitebait spend part of their life cycle in fresh water and part in the sea. Tiny fish hatch in late autumn and are carried along rivers out to sea, where they live and grow over the winter.

In the late winter and early spring whitebait migrate back up rivers and streams, finally settling and growing in bush covered water and swamps. The start of the migration is thought to be influenced by river flows and phases of the moon. Mature inanga adults migrate downstream to lower river sections and estuaries to spawn in grasses covered by water during spring tides. The eggs remain in the grass until the next spring tide covers them again, when the young hatch and are carried out to sea.

On the East Coast, whitebait are something of a secret, which folk from these parts talk little about. Each spring, when the water warms and the moon is full, whitebait run the mighty Waiau river. They are found near the river mouth and access is tricky so people use jet boats to get at it.

I got this pasta recipe from a gentleman down there who drank whisky and water in equal measure. It is rich, but the creamy sauce, delicate whitebait and soothing pasta seem made to go together.

The way most of us love to eat whitebait is simply in a fritter. I have always disliked this as the critter-to-fritter ratio is far too low and the taste of the egg ruins the subtle and slightly sweet flavour of whitebait. Here's the solution — egg-white fritters or better still, no egg at all.

For the egg-white fritter, beat the egg-whites till stiff, throw in pepper and salt then fold in lots of whitebait — the egg-white is just to hold it together and it ends up being really light and crunchy.

In the no egg version, toss the whitebait in flour and shake the excess out through a sieve. Add salt and pepper. Take a really small fry-pan, melt some butter or oil in it and slap in the floured fishies. Fry for a few minutes on both sides and squirt with lemon juice.

In my restaurant in Paris I used to do the flour thing then deep-fry them — amazing. Bon appetit.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=300&objectid=10460182



Whitebait with tagliolini

By AMANDA LAIRD - The New Zealand Herald | Monday, 27 August 2007

Tagliolini with whitebait. JANNA DIXON.

  Tagliolini with whitebait. - JANNA DIXON

Buy fresh to create this mouthwatering tagliolini with whitebait.

For the sauce:

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup of chardonnay
  • 300ml cream
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt and freshly ground green peppercorns

For the rest:

  • 400g of whitebait
  • 200g of fresh tagliolini (very narrow strips of pasta)
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Finely chopped flat leaf parsley or chervil

Method:

  • Make the sauce by melting the butter in a medium-sized saucepan and add the shallots to the butter. Add the garlic and wine and reduce by boiling to half the amount.
  • Add the cream and peppercorns and reduce again for a few minutes.
  • Add salt and nutmeg to taste and keep warm.
  • Cook the pasta until al dente and drain. Cook the whitebait in the hot sauce for one minute.
  • Twirl the pasta into the centre of four warm plates, pile whitebait on top, spoon on some sauce and top with parmesan and parsley.

Serves 4 as a starter.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=300&objectid=10460180



Maori potato salad with fried whitebait, watercress and kelp

By AMANDA LAIRD - The New Zealand Herald | Monday, 27 August 2007

Maori Potato and Watercress Salad with Fried Whitebait and Kelp. JANNA DIXON.

Maori Potato and Watercress Salad
with Fried Whitebait and Kelp.
— JANNA DIXON


Try this delicious whitebait and salad dish.

Ingredients:

  • 6 or 8 (depending on size) peru or urenika potatoes
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp granulated kelp
  • Juice of 1 small lemon
  • 2 tsp cream
  • 2 tsp olive oil, plus 1 tbsp
  • 2 tsp butter
  • 100g whitebait
  • Plain flour
  • 1 tsp flaky sea salt
  • 1 bunch watercress

Method:

  • Put the potatoes in a pot, cover with salted water and boil until just beginning to soften, drain, cool then slice into rounds.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, kelp, lemon juice, cream and olive oil. Pour over the potatoes.
  • In a frypan heat the extra olive oil and butter together until starting to foam. Toss the whitebait in a little flour and salt then fry in batches until just starting to brown.
  • Pick any coarse stalks off the watercress and discard. Combine the potatoes with the watercress and place them on the plate, topping with the whitebait.

Serves 4 as a starter.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=206&objectid=10460183
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« Reply #32 on: April 03, 2009, 02:57:04 pm »


West Coast whitebait season opens today

By PETER SHUTT - The Timaru Herald | Saturday, 01 September 2007

NO BAIT: Meanwhile, back on the east coast, it's early days yet as John Moyle, of Timaru, discovered fishing for whitebait at the Smithfield Beach on Friday, 24 August. With only “ones and twos” it was going to be a long day to catch even enough for a single patty. Whitebait runs are expected to improve through September and October with the season finishing locally in November. JOHN BISSET/The Timaru Herald.

NO BAIT: Meanwhile, back on the east coast, it's early days
yet as John Moyle, of Timaru, discovered fishing for whitebait
at the Smithfield Beach on Friday, 24 August. With only “ones
and twos” it was going to be a long day to catch even enough
for a single patty. Whitebait runs are expected to improve
through September and October with the season finishing
locally in November. — JOHN BISSET/The Timaru Herald


The whitebait season on the West Coast starts today and is likely to draw a good number of local fisher-folk across to the traditional waterways that, for decades, provided the main whitebait catch for the South Island.

In recent years the East Coast fishery has competed strongly and in some instances been the better fishery in terms of 'bait catch.

There are several different ways to catch whitebait — all of which demand a net of specific dimensions.

On the West Coast, a pole net is frequently used to ‘mop up’ any 'bait swimming close to the edge of a stream, or as a backup to catch 'bait that have gone around a set net upstream.

Pole nets are used in the likes of the Waimakariri River backwaters, but are relatively rare elsewhere. They are, however, easily transported and for that reason, can be advantageous.

This year there's the added risk of didymo contamination to be considered, and that means nets of all kinds and anything else that gets wet, must be thoroughly checked, cleaned, and dried before being immersed in any other waterway.

This includes all fishing gear a 'baiter might use when the 'bait runs are slow. For many, it's the 'baiting and fishing opportunity that makes the West Coast fisheries so attractive.

Felt-soled waders are known to be a serious didymo risk and Otago Fish and Game are urging anglers to not use this kind of footwear.

Recent research shows that felt-soled waders are the ideal environment for hosting microscopic didymo that can live for more than 35 days in the damp sole.

Normal cleaning agents fail to penetrate the sole and therefore fail to kill the damaging algae, and advice to date on cleaning through didymo stations and other cleaning methods have proved inadequate.

Dr Barry Biggs (NIWA scientist) says soaking the felt-soles in full strength bleach is one solution, and/or soaking in hot water above 50°C. Either practice must last for several minutes before the boots are removed from the fluid.

Rubber-soled boots are much less concern because they can be spray cleaned by the angler or soaked for 1 minute at cleaning stations.

Canoes, fishing gear, life jackets, swimming togs, or the family dog could carry the single celled organism from one place to another, and fishery officers say soaking or spraying with a 5 per cent solution of dishwashing liquid or household detergent is recommended.

They recommend that 'baiters get a plastic crate or bucket and a spray bottle filled with the 5 per cent detergent solution and keep it in the boot of the car to ensure it's available when out fishing.

Boat owners can play their part by using the same solution and spraying the boat inside and out with a convenient size garden sprayer.

The importance of checking, cleaning, and drying everything before going to another catchment can not be overstated.


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« Reply #33 on: April 03, 2009, 02:57:43 pm »


Whitebait bug - so very catching

By SANDRA COX - The Press | Friday, 07 September 2007

RIVER VETERAN: Ron McTaggart might be 91 years of age but he is not willing to leave his whitebait net in the shed. SANDRA COX/The Press.

RIVER VETERAN: Ron McTaggart might be 91 years of age
but he is not willing to leave his whitebait net in the shed.
— SANDRA COX/The Press


Ron McTaggart's arms are still up to hours of trawling for whitebait and his eyes still good enough to spot them — eight decades since he began.

McTaggart, 91, who retired from work nearly 30 years ago, still manages five hours dragging a net through the Grey River for whitebait almost every day during the season.

On most days in the season, he scrambles down a steep 10m bank, clutching net, poles and metal strips — all bigger than him.

The track is so rough that his wife Nancy forbids their grandchildren going down it when they visit. "It is a long drop to get down there but it's harder work getting up, especially if the bucket is full," McTaggart said.

He usually gets to his possie on the north bank of the Grey River, near the Cobden bridge, before dawn.

The police had twice pulled him over on his way to the river, believing anyone on the road so early must have come from the pub.

Like all whitebaiters, McTaggart, who spent 42 years working underground mining coal, is coy about the size of his best catches, but said a good day was a bucketful.

He sometimes went home with bleeding shins, and two years ago he needed stitches to his head after a fall. He was out fishing again the next day.

Like sticking with the same Lotto numbers, McTaggart will not stray from his spot.

"It's not unusual to be standing there and a few yards away someone's pulling them out of the water, but it's better to choose a spot to stay," he said.

"I'm not envious of anybody else getting a good catch; good luck to them."

In his mid-60s, McTaggart helped save the life of a whitebaiter whose car had plunged into the river.

"A chap was in his car further up the river. I heard a splash and didn't know what had happened until I saw a man's hat floating down the river," he said.

"Another man dived into the water and helped this bloke to shore, and I used my whitebait net to help the rescuer."

McTaggart managed to resuscitate the victim.

He denied his wife's claim he was addicted but, like all whitebaiters, he lived in fear of missing a run of the fish.

The McTaggarts eat the catch fresh, freeze it or give it away. Their children in Auckland and Christchurch sometimes get a whitebait catch couriered to arrive by breakfast the next day.


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« Reply #34 on: April 03, 2009, 02:58:10 pm »


Whitebaiters unhappy with state of creek

Kaikoura Star | Wednesday, 12 September 2007

WHITEBAIT LOVER: Kaikoura man Jim Tanner is upset that Environment Canterbury won't bulldoze a trench to let water run out of Lyell Creek. The water has become stagnant and the whitebait are not running like they should, he says. ALICE COWDREY/Kaikoura Star.

WHITEBAIT LOVER: Kaikoura man Jim Tanner is upset that
Environment Canterbury won't bulldoze a trench to let water
run out of Lyell Creek. The water has become stagnant and
the whitebait are not running like they should, he says.
— ALICE COWDREY/Kaikoura Star


Lyell Creek is stinky and stagnant, which is not only a bad look but also bad news for the whitebait season, say two local men who went to desperate measures for the tiny fish last week.

The keen whitebaiters headed down to the mouth of the creek last Thursday afternoon to dig a trench out to sea as piles of gravel pushed in by tidal flow and storms were providing only enough room for water to "trickle" from the creek.

Whitebaiter Jim Tanner said the water was becoming stagnant and there was a green slime on some rocks. He stirred up the water and a brown hue emerged. He said the poor state of the creek was taking away peoples' much enjoyed recreation.

"People drive up here, look out the window, see this and then drive off again."

He said Environment Canterbury (ECAN) had been approached to dig the trench out but was not listening to the whitebaiters. Mr Tanner said the issue could easily be fixed with concrete floodwalls. He knew ECAN had moved the gravel a month a go but said it quickly moved back to its previous state.

"It is a hell of a fight for the whitebait to get up the hill and then they meet all of this rubbish."

The stench of the creek was not a good look for all the people who would be flocking into town for Seafest and the tourist season, said Mr Tanner.

ECAN works inspector Peter Adams said the issue arose every year and ECAN would only open the creek mouth if there was a problem with drainage. At the moment it was not closed and the water was still flowing out, he said.

"It's just not as big as what they would like."

Mr Adams said there was a low flow in the creek at the moment, due to low rainfall, and if the gravel was cleared it would automatically go back to the way it was.

ECAN usually used a 20 tonne digger to clear out the mouth and it has already been done two or three times this year including four weeks ago. The water had become backed up and even flowed out onto the lawns at the A1 Campground, Mr Adams said.

"It's fine just the way it is."


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« Reply #35 on: April 03, 2009, 02:59:22 pm »


Coast whitebait fetches $110 a kilogram

By SANDRA COX - The Press | Monday, 17 September 2007

SHORT SUPPLY: The early season price in Christchurch shops for whitebait has gone up to $110 a kilogram. The West Coast season has started slowly. SANDRA COX/The Press.

SHORT SUPPLY: The early season price in Christchurch
shops for whitebait has gone up to $110 a kilogram.
The West Coast season has started slowly.
— SANDRA COX/The Press


Cold water is putting whitebait off swimming up West Coast rivers — and driving the early season price in Christchurch shops to $110 a kilogram.

The tiny delicacy is too dear for many Christchurch retailers and wholesalers, who rely on frozen stocks.

Angela Moore, co-owner of City Seafood Market, which supplies 40 Christchurch restaurants, said at $110 a kg fresh whitebait was too expensive for most people. City Seafood could only retail it for $10 a kg more than they bought it.

"We wouldn't make much on it at all and people aren't prepared to pay that at the moment.

"They'll just wait till the price comes down a bit."

Her customers were interested in prices around $80 a kg.

She said West Coast whitebait was preferred over Southland's, for its reputed better taste.

"I'm not usually a whitebait eater myself but all our customers say that they know the difference."


Coast whitebait fetches $110 a kilogram!

John Buchanan, head chef of Boulevard Restaurant and Bar on Oxford Terrace, says prices are double the amount Boulevard preferred to pay.

Prices were, in part, dictated by Auckland restaurants, where early season whitebait commanded highest prices."It's like oysters. When the new season strikes, even though they don't make money on it, they have to have it on the menu and it's the same with whitebait."

On the Coast, whitebaiters were not expecting catches to improve until warmer weather next month.

West Coast Whitebaiters Association president Jim Bushby said the poor start was because of cold sea temperatures and snow melting into rivers which kept the whitebait out at sea.

Few whitebaiters had brought home much more than a few kilograms a day.

"You just have to be in the right place at the right time but a lot of others round are getting nothing at all. It's very patchy."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4203951a24035.html



Connoisseurs snap up whitebait at $130 a kg

By GREER McDONALD and NZPA - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Connoisseurs snap up whitebait at $130 a kg!!

Whitebait lovers are being battered by exorbitant prices after a slow start to the season.

Retail prices in Wellington have reached $130 a kilogram — for those who can find whitebait — but connoisseurs are prepared to pay a premium, retailers said yesterday.

A spokesman for Moore Wilson Fresh Market said customers were paying "Mickey Mouse money" to get their hands on whitebait, after prices topped $12.95 per 100 grams.

"We are sold out at the moment but expect more in today. It's literally running out the door."

The store's whitebait supply comes from the West Coast, where poor catch levels have been reported since the season started on September 01.

"There's not a lot around," West Coast Whitebaiters Association president Jim Bushby said from Greymouth yesterday.

"Rivers have been dirty for the last four or five days, which wouldn't help."

"It's been a fairly cold spring here and the water's still fairly cold. But tides are coming right and next month should see a bit of action, hopefully."

Mr Bushby said "good rain" in the past three or four days would have "got rid of a bit of snow up the back" and freshened the main whitebaiting rivers.

"There's been the odd kilogram caught here and there, but nothing really to write home about."

Christchurch-based Cascade Whitebait — New Zealand's main wholesale supplier — puts the scarcity down to a late season.

"It's the slowest start for a couple of seasons, but we're hoping it will pick up in the next couple of weeks," marketing manager Neville Cane said.

An informal survey of Christchurch retailers showed that prices were averaging $120 a kilogram.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4205156a6479.html



Huge price tag for rare wee delicacy

By LEIGHTON KEITH - Taranaki Daily News | Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Taranaki whitebait connoisseurs are prepared to pay top dollar for the delicacy.

The whitebaiting season started with a bang on August 15 then slowed, driving prices for a kilogram of the tiny fish to more than $100.

Locals can take some consolation in the fact their counterparts in the South Island are also having to pay top dollar, with cold water keeping whitebait from swimming up West Coast rivers.

Two years ago, whitebait prices in South Westland plummeted from $80 to $20/kg.

They are now paying up to $110/kg.

New Plymouth Department of Conservation officer Bryan Williams said some fishers had caught between 10kg and 12kg for the season.

"It started off with a hiss and a roar but it has died off a bit."

Mr Williams said most of Taranaki's rivers were fishing quite well and whitebaiters were getting their share but it had not been as good as last year.

"They are quite happy, but they are people who go out every day," he said.

Recent fine weather may have reduced catches with rivers running clear and smaller numbers of whitebait making their way up.

Mr Williams said rain was needed. "It puts a bit of water in (rivers) and encourages the whitebait to run up from the sea."

Mr Williams said the delicacy was selling for about $70/kg along the river.

Mokau Butchery owner Graham Putt had not heard of any big catches so far this season.

"You normally hear of something around but there has been nothing this year at all. It is pretty quiet. There is not much happening," Mr Putt said.

He was selling whitebait for $110/kg and people were happy to pay the price.

Whitebait Inn, Mokau, owner Jenny Marsden said there were a few whitebait around.

Mrs Marsden said they only sold whitebait through the cafe but wouldn't say how much they paid.

Cushla Healy, of Marinovich's Seafood Restaurant in New Plymouth, said she had made calls around the country trying to get hold of whitebait but there was not much on offer. Whitebait was retailing for $150/kg, she said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dailynews/4205326a6554.html



Whitebaiters battle over best taste

By SARAH BEDFORD - The Southland Times | Tuesday, 18 September 2007

TAKING A STAND: Toss Tiplady reckons Southland whitebait tastes better than that found on the West Coast. JILL McKEE/The Southland Times.

TAKING A STAND: Toss Tiplady reckons Southland whitebait
tastes better than that found on the West Coast.
— JILL McKEE/The Southland Times


Southland whitebaiters have jumped to the defence of the tiny delicacy in the south after a Christchurch fishmonger claimed West Coast whitebait taste better.

City Seafood Market co-owner Angela Moore said customers preferred West Coast whitebait to Southland's, for its reputed better taste. "I'm not usually a whitebait eater myself but all our customers say that they know the difference," the Cantabrian said.

However, whitebaiters on the Aparima River yesterday rebutted the claim and, although the little fish might sometimes be harder to come by in the region, it tasted just as good as any West Coast whitebait, they said.

Fred Orme has been whitebaiting since he was a child and had even done so on the West Coast. "There's no difference in the taste," he said.

West Coast whitebait were slightly bigger and were usually easier to come by, which could be why they were preferred by some, he said.

The best way to eat it, he said, was with more whitebait.

Toss Tiplady said while catches had been patchy so far this season, because of cold river water keeping the whitebait at bay, it was still well worth the wait.

"I reckon the Southland stuff is better than the West Coast's."

Phil MacAskill conceded that whitebait could taste different according to their species but he did not think West Coast whitebait tasted better.

"It's all in their imagination," he said.

Meanwhile, prices for whitebait have been driven up by a poor start to the season.

In Christchurch the early season price has reached $110 a kilogram but in the deep south it was a little cheaper.

Kings Fish Market owner Greg King said there had not been much whitebait available so far this season.

Prices at the store were $99/kg but that could change depending on how the season went, he said.


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« Reply #36 on: April 03, 2009, 03:02:30 pm »


DOC keeps close eye on bait hunters

The Marlborough Express | Friday, 21 September 2007

Department of Conservation staff are patrolling popular whitebaiting haunts to ensure those chasing the "white gold" are doing so legally.

Community relations officer Colin Davis said staff were checking that people were not starting fishing before 5am or leaving nets unattended.

He has been out at 3am some days to have a look around and is so far pleased with the behaviour of the whitebaiters he has met.

Department staff have the power to seize nets and gear of whitebaiters breaking the regulations, and to fine them up to $5000.

Mr Davis warned those operating outside of the regulations not to expect to get off with a warning.

He said whitebaiters he had been talking to were reporting a slow start to the season.

Whitebaiter Bruce Nicholas was the only person braving grey conditions at Wairau Bar yesterday. He takes time off work for the season.

"This place is out of this world," he said. "The enjoyment on the beach, and if you catch anything that's a bonus."


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« Reply #37 on: April 03, 2009, 03:03:34 pm »


Baked whitebait with caper tomato salsa

By AMANDA LAIRD - The New Zealand Herald | Thursday, 20 September 2007

Baked whitebait with caper tomato salsa. Photo: BABICHE MARTENS.

          Baked whitebait with caper tomato salsa. — BABICHE MARTENS

A departure from the ubiquitous whitebait fritters, these individual bakes are set off with a fresh salsa to bring out the flavour of the fish.

Serves 4.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Tablesoon butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons cream
  • 200g whitebait
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper to season

SALSA:

  • 1 tomato, seeded and diced
  • 2 teaspoons capers, rinsed and finely diced
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 160°C. Combine the salsa ingredients and let steep for at least 15 minutes.
  • Grease 4 ramekins with butter. Gently whisk the eggs and cream, season then gently fold through the whitebait.
  • Pour into the ramekins and bake for 20 minutes or until just set. Serve with the salsa.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=206&objectid=10464753



Whitebait fritters in bread with lemon mayonnaise

By AMANDA LAIRD - The New Zealand Herald | Friday, 21 September 2007

Whitebait fritters in bread with lemon mayonnaise. Photo: BABICHE MARTENS.

      Whitebait fritters in bread with lemon mayonnaise. — BABICHE MARTENS

A classic New Zealand recipe, whitebait fritters make a perfect snack or light meal.

Serves 4.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 slices white bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 200g whitebait
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
  • Lemon wedges

LEMON MAYONNAISE:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ˝ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 300 ml olive oil
  • Lemon juice

METHOD:

  • To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, salt, sugar, mustard and lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine then, with the engine running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Once the ingredients have amalgamated, season and add fresh lemon juice to taste.
  • Spread the bread generously with mayonnaise.
  • In a bowl, whisk the eggs with the flour, salt and pepper. Gently fold through the whitebait.
  • Heat a fry pan and add the butter and oil. When hot, add the fritter mixture in tablespoonfuls and cook until golden on both sides. Put on to the bread while still warm.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/topic/story.cfm?c_id=206&objectid=10464756



Maori potato salad with fried whitebait

By AMANDA LAIRD - The New Zealand Herald | Saturday, 22 September 2007

Maori potato salad with fried whitebait. Photo: BABICHE MARTENS.

            Maori potato salad with fried whitebait. — BABICHE MARTENS

A warm variation on a potato salad, with added whitebait and the creamy texture of a homemade lemon mayonnaise.

Serves 4.


INGREDIENTS:

  • 8 urenika or peruperu potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons light olive oil
  • 150g whitebait
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon light olive oil
  • 1 bunch watercress or rocket
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

LEMON MAYONNAISE:

  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ˝ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 300 ml olive oil
  • Lemon juice

METHOD:

  • To make the mayonnaise, put the egg yolks, salt, sugar, mustard and lemon zest into the bowl of a food processor. Process to combine then, with the engine running, slowly drizzle in the oil. Once the ingredients have amalgamated, season and add fresh lemon juice to taste.
  • Heat a fry pan, slice the potatoes, add the oil to the pan and fry the potatoes, turning once until golden and cooked through — about 5 minutes each side. Keep warm.
  • Wipe out the pan then add the butter and oil. Put the whitebait into a bowl, sprinkle with the flour and toss to coat. Using tongs, drop the whitebait into the hot pan, tossing to cook. This will take approximately 60 seconds.
  • To serve, arrange the potatoes, whitebait and watercress on plates and drizzle with the lemon mayonnaise.

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« Reply #38 on: April 03, 2009, 03:05:50 pm »


Smiles as bait runs in Grey

By TUI BROMLEY - The Greymouth Star | Wednesday, 26 September 2007

BONANZA: A plentiful catch of whitebait from the Grey River.

BONANZA: A plentiful catch of whitebait from the Grey River.

Whitebaiters on the Grey River have enjoyed a rare bait bonanza over the past 24 hours.

Rivers in Buller and South Westland have provided slim pickings for many, but in Greymouth yesterday the sun was shining, the water was crystal clear and the whitebait were running. And it was more of the same — just many more whitebaiters — on the Grey this morning, some with 20-litre buckets brim full, others with varying amounts, and all very happy. One fisherman who had about 5kg was thanking modern technology for his catch yesterday. “My son sent me a text saying there were some good shoals coming up. I come down at 12.30 and had this (his catch) by 1pm.”

Catches so far have not been so good on the rivers in the deep south, which traditionally produce the big yields. Haast whitebait buyer CoIin McKinney said catches had started to pick up a little in the past few days but September had been a bad one. “It’s the worst start in donkey’s years. Perhaps this is going to be one of those seasons where there is precious little in the first months and heaps in October.” Mr McKinney said “a few” 100kg loads had been flown out of South Westland in the past week but that was not a lot for the number of fishermen in the region. “There are heaps more fishermen than fish. I think every man in Canterbury wants to fulfil his dream and go to the West Coast whitebaiting.” The Hokitika River has provided some big catches and plenty of little ones this week. Some with stands upstream were yesterday catching upwards of 40kg on a tide, while those using scoop nets closer to the river mouth were picking up “a feed” and sometimes a bit more.

Department of Conservation Hokitika ranger Ted Brennan said the season had also provided “the usual riverbank arguments” and unusually large deposits of litter. “It’s something we will probably have to sort out in conjunction with the district council, but we have spoken to a few people about the vast collections of beer bottles left in some places.” Westport baiters have fared worst of all, three weeks into the season. DOC Buller ranger John Green said whitebaiters in most rivers in the north were “picking up a pound or two, with the odd big catch in between”. Compliance had been good but he said that was usually the case when pickings were lean.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=669&Itemid=1



Whitebait windfalls

By JAMES BEECH - The Greymouth Star | Wednesday, 26 September 2007

WHITEBAIT: Slimmer pickings on the Hokitika River.

WHITEBAIT: Slimmer pickings on the Hokitika River.

The whitebait may have been running in the Grey River yesterday but there were slimmer pickings to be had for some whitebaiters on Hokitika River.

Retired builder Paul Olsen, of Kaniere, said the weather was good but the ‘baiting was not where he was on the southside of the riverbank. His largest catch so far weighed in at 2.5kg. “It’s out there somewhere but it’s early days. I heard Whataroa got good bait but I don’t know for how long.”

Hokitika mother Viv Olson said she had netted “bits and pieces” though she had caught five kilos on her best day. “You’ve got to wait for the big tides and you’ve got to put the time in but it’s a great way to spend your time.”

Retired business man Charles Evans, of Hokitika, said he was catching 500 grammes on average but had taken home 2.5kg one day.

On the other side of the river, retiree Graeme Howart, had returned from Christchurch to his home town to try his hand this season. “I’m only an amateur, I’ve got a scoop net, but some of the professionals are catching around 80 pounds. I get about two or three pounds most days but I had a lucky day on Saturday and I caught 15 pounds.”

Supervisor Allan Jordan, of Kaiapoi, was borrowing his brother’s stand for the week and said he had heard of “30 pound lifts” last weekend.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=667&Itemid=1



Cash bonanza for whitebaiters

Staff Reporters and NZPA - The Dominion Post and The Press | Thursday, 27 September 2007

The "white gold" has started running but it has not resulted in a drop in the crazy prices for whitebait from retailers yet.

Wellington's Moore Wilson Pacific Catch said customers remained happy to part with $12.95 per 100 grams.

Whitebaiters on the Grey River have enjoyed a rare bonanza in the past 24 hours, including 13-year-old Cobden whitebaiter Clinton Blance, whose 4.5 kilograms of whitebait would equal about $590 on today's market.

Rivers in Buller and South Westland have provided slim pickings for many, but in Greymouth on Tuesday the sun was shining, the water crystal clear and the whitebait running.

And it was more of the same — just many more whitebaiters — on the Grey yesterday morning, some with 20-litre buckets brim full, others with varying amounts, and all very happy. One fisherman who had around 5kg was thanking modern technology for his catch.

"My son sent me a text saying there were some good shoals coming up. I came down at 12.30 and had this (his catch) by 1pm."

Catches so far have not been so good on the rivers in the deep south, which traditionally produce the big yields.

Haast whitebait buyer Colin McKinney said catches had started to pick up a little in the past few days but September had been a bad one.

"It's the worst start in donkey's years. Perhaps this is going to be one of those seasons where there is precious little in the first months and heaps in October."

Mr McKinney said "a few" 100kg loads had been flown out of South Westland in the past week but that was not a lot for the number of fishermen in the region.

"There are heaps more fishermen than fish.

"I think every man in Canterbury wants to fulfil his dream and go to the West Coast whitebaiting."

The Hokitika River has provided some big catches and plenty of little ones this week. Some with stands upstream were yesterday catching upward of 40kg on a tide, while those using scoop nets closer to the river mouth were picking up "a feed" and sometimes a bit more.

Conservation Department Hokitika ranger Ted Brennan said the season had also provided "the usual riverbank arguments" and unusually large deposits of litter.

"It's something we will probably have to sort out in conjunction with the district council, but we have spoken to a few people about the vast collections of beer bottles left in some places."

Westport baiters have fared worst of all, three weeks into the season.

DOC Buller ranger John Green said whitebaiters in most rivers in the north were "picking up a pound or two, with the odd big catch in between".

Compliance had been good but he said that was usually the case when pickings were lean.


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« Reply #39 on: April 03, 2009, 03:07:10 pm »


Whitebaiting season claims third West Coast fatality

By SANDRA Cox in WESTPORT - The Press | Saturday, 29 September 2007

HEART PROBLEMS: Police recover a whitebaiter's body from the Grey River yesterday. The death was the third whitebait-related death on the West Coast this season. CHARLES BRUNING/The Press.

HEART PROBLEMS: Police recover a whitebaiter's body from the
Grey River yesterday. The death was the third whitebait-related
death on the West Coast this season.
— CHARLES BRUNING/The Press


A Westport whitebaiter died of a suspected heart attack early yesterday morning, the third whitebaiter to die this season on the West Coast.

Constable Chris Robertson, of the Westport police, said the 74-year-old man, who had heart problems, died on the banks of Martins Island, near the mouth of the Buller River.

A friend with a cellphone called emergency services, while others tried to revive him.

St John Ambulance Westport team manager Ian Rodger said the man was dead when the emergency services arrived.

He had been whitebaiting with three friends when he collapsed.

Police would not release the man's name until family in Australia had been notified. He was believed to have been a former employee of the cement works near Westport.

On September 06, 80-year-old Keith Vickery Hollobon, of Shirley, in Christchurch, was killed when the van in which he was a passenger left the road at Bruce Bay, 40km south of Fox Glacier, on State Highway 6, and collided with a tree. Hollobon and the 79-year-old driver had been returning to Christchurch from whitebaiting in Westland.

That afternoon, long-time Greymouth whitebaiter Peter (P. J.) Awatere fell into the Grey River and died of a suspected heart attack.


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« Reply #40 on: April 03, 2009, 03:07:37 pm »


Whitebait with asparagus and pancetta

GUEST CHEF: ANTONY PAGE - The Press | Thursday, 04 October 2007

GUEST CHEF'S DISH: Whitebait with asparagus and pancetta. JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press.

GUEST CHEF'S DISH: Whitebait with asparagus and pancetta.
— JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/The Press


New season's whitebait with asparagus, pancetta & mandarin vinaigrette.

Serves 4.


Vinaigrette:

  • 100ml mandarin oil
  • 30ml muscatel vinegar
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Whitebait omelettes:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 400g whitebait

Garnish:

  • 12 asparagus spears
  • 12 slices pancetta
  • Microgreens or mixed soft herbs

For vinaigrette:

  • Whisk the mandarin oil into the vinegar, season with a little salt and pepper.
  • Put aside until needed.

For omelettes and garnish:

  • Beat eggs with lemon zest, add whitebait.
  • Slice each asparagus spear into three.
  • Grill pancetta until crispy.
  • Heat a non-stick pan with a little olive oil and pour in ¼ of whitebait mix and cook gently until just set.
  • Repeat for 4 omelettes.

Meanwhile:

  • Blanch asparagus in salted boiling water for one minute then toss in a bowl with a little of the mandarin vinaigrette.

To serve:

  • Place the whitebait omelettes in the middle of warm plates, place the asparagus and pancetta around the outside, dress the microgreens or herb salad and put on top of whitebait, spoon mandarin vinaigrette around the plates and serve immediately.

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« Reply #41 on: April 03, 2009, 03:10:59 pm »


Baiters despair as rivers flood

By STAFF REPORTERS - The Greymouth Star | Monday, 08 October 2007

Flooding and slips around the region caused minor delays at the weekend but whitebait buyers are starting to despair.

Greymouth police reported this morning that there was a slip on the Coast Road about 1km from Rapahoe. They also found one on State Highway 7 near Ngahere. A slip between the Otira Viaduct and Candy’s Bend yesterday morning closed the road for about half an hour while workmen cleared the debris. This morning, a slip brought down a tree between Kaiata and Omoto on State Highway 7 reducing the road to one lane, a spokesman for Opus International in Greymouth said. Motorists were advised to be on the look out for rockfalls and surface flooding, otherwise it was business as usual on most roads. However, Transit New Zealand issued a caution for all alpine passes as the South Island suffered a late wintry blast. The road from Springfield to Arthur’s Pass was experiencing high winds this morning and chains should be carried as a precaution, said a spokesman. Greymouth weather recorder Phil Forrest said it rained continuously between 7pm yesterday and 9am today. Mr Forrest recorded 54mm in the 24 hours to this morning. “So far this month we have had 159.1mm, and in the corresponding month last year we had 9.7mm.”

The inclement weather brought a sudden halt to what was promising to be a bountiful whitebait season on the Grey River. The bait ran for three days in a row late in September but the Grey, and all other rivers on the West Coast, have been in various stages of flood for over a week. South Westland whitebait buyer Colin McKinney, said September had been one of his worst on record and October was in danger of becoming a washout. “I’m 1.5 tonnes down on what I would normally have bought. “These northerlies are killing the season. “The rivers just start to clear and another front comes across muddying them again.“As long as the sea remains coloured in-shore the bait will stay out in the indigo water. We probably need a week of fine weather to allow things to settle.”

The West Coast Regional Council said this morning the Grey River peaked at 8am on Saturday at 4.2m, well above the first stage alarm level of 3.4m. It peaked again at 7pm yesterday at just under 4.2m, and dropped back. It was rising again this morning, but high tide passed without incident just after 9am. The Buller River also passed its first stage alarm.


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« Reply #42 on: April 03, 2009, 03:11:29 pm »


The whitebate debate

The Marlborough Express | Wednesday, 10 October 2007

NET GAIN: The sheer number of people now fishing for whitebait is putting pressure on the little fish, according to Marlborough District Council scientist Pete Hamill. The Marlborough Express.

NET GAIN: The sheer number of people now fishing for whitebait is
putting pressure on the little fish, according to Marlborough District
Council scientist Pete Hamill. — The Marlborough Express


The Wairau Diversion is a good spot to while away a few hours waiting for a run of whitebait. But changes in the rules for the quiet pastime upset have a few people. DAVE WILLIAMS reports.

One of the most popular spots for whitebaiting in Marlborough is the Wairau Diversion where dozens of whitebaiters have been patiently waiting for runs of the fish since the season started in mid August.

But with recent changes in camping rules along the left bank of the Wairau Diversion some long time whitebaiters are unhappy at what has happened, saying they can't find any space to put their nets in the water.

Blenheim's Eric Johnston says the Department of Conservation (DOC) is promoting conservation of the fish, but at the same time the Marlborough District Council is not helping by allowing freedom camping "for months at a time" on the left bank of the diversion.

"Thus turning the baiting season into a commercial enterprise where we have a line of sock nets in the river for 12 to 14 hours a day," Mr Johnston says.

"I have counted 13 big nets from the mouth of the river upwards. I go whitebaiting every year on the West Coast at Karamea, and you would only see one of those nets in the whole river."

He says the big nets would be in the water from 5am to 8pm, and they were "scooping the pool and nothing's there".

"No wonder a working person wanting to catch a feed for their family has no chance of enjoying a treat of bait."

He questions where else anyone could park free of charge on council property.

Longterm whitebait fisherman Ray Ching says the freedom campers take up a lot of space, so much that people arriving later in the day cannot get access to the water.

"There's too many down there. But what they should do I am not sure, but they should review the situation."

The freedom camping policy at the diversion, into its second year specifically for the whitebait season, is a solution to a pollution problem that arose when whitebaiters had to stay overnight at a nearby DOC reserve.

Previously whitebaiters would overnight on the reserve and move on to the river bank at the allowed times.

Council reserves and amenities manager Rosie Bartlett says the campers often did not have self containment facilities, and that led to local pollution problems.

Changing the camping rules meant the council was able to exercise control over what vehicles were allowed to camp on the diversion.

The campers can now park there for 14 days but must have a self containment certificate. The council monitors it twice a week.

"Since the scheme has been brought in there have been very few problems. It's working very well," she says.

There generally were no complaints from the area, and it self monitored itself, Ms Bartlett says.

But are there commercial whitebaiters on the diversion?

Ms Bartlett says she is not aware of any commercial whitebaiters in the area, and it appears most are retired people.

And whitebaiters spoken to by The Marlborough Express were not concerned with overnight campers or commercial fishermen.

Jim Greer, fishing at the mouth of the river, says he has no problem with the campers, as long as they follow the rules.

"There's not many places they can camp now, and in some ways they are probably doing good. There are usually hoons racing around there."

And Gary Timms says the campers are just retired people enjoying the opportunity to go whitebaiting. He does not think it would be commercially viable to sit there and whitebait all day.

And that is echoed by the likes of Jim and Shirley Mears, who have been staying in their mobile home at the diversion since the season opened.

They have been coming down to the diversion for up to five years and say most of the campers there were retired people. They maintain that people at the diversion do not catch enough whitebait to do it commercially.

They say the situation is no different if they were confined to the DOC reserve overnight, they would still park on the diversion at 4am as had happened before freedom camping was allowed.

"We have this every year, some people complain about motorhomes. We are sitting here in the warm having a cup of tea, and they are freezing cold, you can understand it," Mrs Mears says.

But that is part of the argument also raised by some whitebaiters, that people can sit in the comfort of their campervans and have their nets sit in the river all day.

Whitebaiter George Illingworth says he is not going down to the Diversion this year, after fishing there for 15 or 20 years.

It's "too big a hassle", he says.

"I don't mind them camping there, but I don't think they should just sit there and block someone else. They expect you to stay away, but everybody has got a right to the river bank.

"I am not in favour of the big nets being set out all day, and you sitting inside your caravan if it's raining or blowing. And you are sitting there just catching everything that goes up the river. I don't think it does the whitebait much good."

He questions whether DOC should tighten up on the rules about which nets can be used.

The stories about the old days when excess whitebait was used as fertiliser are well known, and before the Wairau Plain was drained the Wairau River would have been one of the best whitebait fisheries in the world.

But the whitebait fishery has some funny rules, which would never be applied to any other resource.

There are no limits on what you can catch and you don't need a licence to fish for it. It is widely sold on the black market and has reached the heady price of $140 per kilogram this year.

You just need to follow some time, location and net size rules, and stay within 10m of your net at all times.

The rules ensure some whitebait can get past the nets, but having no limit appears to go against the rules of any fishery resource rule in the world.

DOC Marlborough community relations manager Colin Davis says it is a new development in the last four or five years that more people are using set nets, which was putting "huge" pressure on whitebait.

Mr Davis says 80 vehicles parked along the diversion is not uncommon.

He says the department had been checking for set nets left overnight and would come down pretty hard on people who broke the rules.

The department had one prosecution pending for a fisherman who was found fishing within 20m of a culvert.

As a general rule there has been a slow start to the season, but Mr Davis says there have been some reasonable catches down at the Wairau — over 5kg a day.

There is an argument that the limiting factor to whitebait numbers is the reduction of habitat, rather than overfishing.

But it is impossible to say how much is caught. People are cagey about revealing exactly how much they have actually netted.

It is difficult to get a handle on how much is taken each year, because no tax is paid on what is sold, and no-one declares how much they catch.

The fishery is viewed as something of an anomaly by local Fish and Game head Neil Deans.

Whitebait regulations are enforced by DOC and is not the responsibility of Fish and Game, but Mr Deans says it is the complete opposite to how recreational fisheries are run, where people pay for licences and cannot sell their catch.

Marlborough differs from the West Coast, where whitebait stands can be a tradeable commodity.

"There would be concern if people were able to capture public resource in that way.

"There's always been an anomaly in New Zealand, to do in part with the nature of the fishery. You never really know how much is available in any year or day."

The lack of information, and the "gold rush mentality" of the fishery gets under the collar of Marlborough District Council scientist Pete Hamill, who has been vocal in his criticism of what he calls "the culture of greed" in the fishery, and wants whitebaiters to "think beyond the frying pan".

He thinks traditional usage has probably kept the rules the way they are. Mr Hamill admits to being "quite bolshy" when he asks whitebaiters how much they have caught.

"People will say they don't have much of a catch, while they are sitting next to a full chillybin."

And he knows of people who spend six months in New Zealand and six months in Australia, their lifestyle funded by whitebait.

They were travelling around in campervans, and contacting their friends by cellphone to alert them to runs.

"Imagine if you were doing that with rimu? Just ripping it out of the bush, just so you could fund yourself living in Australia, it just wouldn't be a goer," Mr Hamill says.

Whitebait are primarily of the young of three species: inanga, koaro and banded kokopu. Inanga is by far the most commonly caught species, and he compares it with catching tuis and putting them on a stick and selling them down at the market.

Mr Hamill says the limiting factor of habitat is brought up as an argument, but says that in the lower reaches of the Wairau, land use probably hasn't changed much in the last 80 years with a lot of stock and dairy farms still operating.

"In some sense the spawning areas have possibly increased in the lower Wairau."

He says the sheer number of people fishing now — people have more time for it — is putting more pressure on the little fish.

"You talk to people and they say the catch 30 years ago was fantastic, but the habitat hasn't changed much in the last 30 years, but the number of people has.

"It's part of New Zealand's resource, and there is a black economy, and they are giving nothing back. There is no money for research or habitat enhancement."


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« Reply #43 on: April 03, 2009, 03:14:46 pm »


Sewage illegally dumped into river

By KATIE CHAPMAN - Manawatu Standard | Wednesday, 10 October 2007

FILTHY, DISGUSTING: Shannon's effluent pools have also created problems in the past. SAM BAKER/Manawatu Standard.

FILTHY, DISGUSTING: Shannon's effluent pools have also created
problems in the past. — SAM BAKER/Manawatu Standard


Manawatu's whitebait season might be dead in the water after sewage laden with used sanitary items and condoms spewed from Shannon's effluent ponds into the Manawatu River last week.

Horizons Regional Council planning manager Greg Carlyon said it appeared Horowhenua District Council had pumped between 10,000 and 100,000 litres of raw sewage into the Mangaore Stream, which feeds into the Manawatu River.

Investigations would now be carried out to see how badly the water had been polluted, he said.

"We've found Horowhenua discharged copious amounts of sewage into the Mangaore. In the next 24 hours or so we're going to have to take some sort of action about whitebaiting in the Manawatu River."

The whitebaiting season opened on August 15, and isn't due to close until November 30.

Outraged Shannon farmer Wayne Rider, whose farm borders the effluent ponds, saw the sewage going into Stansell's drain.

He described the sight: "Absolutely bloody filthy, disgusting."

Mr Rider said the pumping lasted about 48 hours. He was horrified, particularly given it was the middle of the school holidays and river whitebaiters were out in force.

"No notification (was given). People have been whitebaiting throughout all of this exercise, catching whitebait, eating whitebait, in the river.

"Makes me flipping wild."

Shannon resident Brent Christiansen was also furious about the mess, demanding to know why the public hadn't been warned the pumping would take place.

"Where was the public notification for these whitebaiters?"

He wanted to know what was going to be done about it, and where the consents were.

Mr Carlyon said the discharge had occurred without consent.

In July, Horizons Regional Council cancelled Shannon's sewage treatment plant's discharge consent due to a lack of information given in the application.

Horowhenua District Council has been operating on temporary consents since 2001, when the original consent expired.

The district council has since been working with Horizons to file an acceptable application.

Mr Carlyon was horrified this incident had occurred, and said prosecution was an option.

"My reaction to these things is generally unprintable; I find it pretty frustrating, I have to say. All the agencies involved are working so hard to deal with this waste issue."

He was astonished Horowhenua would do this during negotiations.

"In the meantime you'd expect you'd be impeccable in your operation of that plant."

Mr Carlyon said more information about the extent of the pollution would become evident as the investigations proceeded.

Horowhenua District Council could not be reached for comment before deadline.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatustandard/4232704a6003.html



Charges likely for sewage dumping

By KATIE CHAPMAN - Manawatu Standard | Thursday, 11 October 2007

BOTTOMS UP: Horizons officer Carol Nicholson examines sludge from the bottom of Stansell's Drain. JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard.

BOTTOMS UP: Horizons officer Carol Nicholson examines sludge from the
bottom of Stansell's Drain. — JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard


Whitebaiters can breathe easy — the weather saved the day after the Shannon effluent ponds were emptied into the Mangaore Stream last week.

Horizons Regional Council group manager, planning and regulatory, Greg Carlyon said a fresh last week flushed away most of the sewage — which was loaded with used sanitary items and condoms.

"(The effect is) pretty well negligible. It absolutely is good luck that's for sure."

Horizons is now frantically investigating the incident, which saw up to 100,000 litres of sewage from the effluent ponds pumped into Stansell's Drain, which feeds into the Mangaore and on to the Manawatu River.

Mr Carlyon said part of the issue, was that the district council was working under a consent from 1970. That consent had run out in 2001, but it had been temporarily renewed while a new consent was sought.

Horowhenua had continued operating under the temporary consent until July this year, when Horizons said it was no longer acceptable. They are now negotiating a new consent.

Mr Carlyon said there were no more chances, and Horowhenua had been issued with an abatement notice, which instructed them told to "cease and desist" immediately.

Inquiries were being made, including testing the water, and interviewing those involved and locals who witnessed the pumping.

The degree of the consent breach and the damage was not yet known, Mr Carlyon said. "It's going to take a very solid week to get that kind of information."


YUCK: New “floatables”, like those pumped out last week, are again gathering on the surface of Shannon's effluent ponds. JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard.

YUCK: New “floatables”, like those pumped out last week, are
again gathering on the surface of Shannon's effluent ponds.
— JONATHAN CAMERON/Manawatu Standard


Horowhenua is describing the pumping out of "floatables" into the stream as a "regrettable incident" caused by a failure of the screening process.

Neighbouring farmer Wayne Rider witnessed the effluent being pumped into the drain. He said the screening was laughable as it was nothing more than orange building mesh across the drain.

"That style mesh has holes large enough to allow a tennis ball through.

"They just drove a couple of those in and pumped away for a couple of hours."

Mr Carlyon said this appeared to be correct, but they needed to find out if there was extra screening before the mesh.

Mr Rider is among residents calling for prosecutions. He said the sight was disgusting, particularly given it wasn't in the ponds.

"You see everything coming down here. It's all gone, it's all gone down the river.

"There was no need to do what they did here."

Mr Carlyon said a prosecution was highly likely.

Upstream, Palmerston North whitebaiter Alan Lochead was shocked to learn what was going into the river his net was cast in.

"If a similar incident happened again, he would find another spot to scoop the shoals.

"If I saw that happening, then I'd pack my net up. You've got to really question it."


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« Reply #44 on: April 03, 2009, 03:15:51 pm »


Whitebait elude fishermen

By JARED MORGAN - The Southland Times | Thursday, 18 October 2007

EMPTY NET SYNDROME: Invercargill's Graham Sutherland checking his net at his whitebait stand. Southern whitebaiters have been left disappointed by one of the worst seasons in years. JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times.

EMPTY NET SYNDROME: Invercargill's Graham Sutherland
checking his net at his whitebait stand. Southern whitebaiters
have been left disappointed by one of the worst seasons in years.
— JOHN HAWKINS/The Southland Times


Southern whitebaiters have been left disappointed by one of the worst seasons for netting the delicacy in years.

Southland Whitebaiters Association president Graham Gough was blunt when asked how whitebait were running this year.

"They're not," he said. "It's a very poor season."

While rivers across Southland had tended to run high during the season, the reasons why whitebait had proved elusive escaped him.

"There's no scientific data to back it up — it's just one of those years," Mr Gough said.

Whitebaiters had told him none of the traditional hotspots for catching whitebait in Southland had produced a consistent run so far, he said.

With the season now halfway through, all indications were it was unlikely to improve, Mr Gough said.

Whitebaiter Graham Sutherland said the season, which began on August 15, had been poor, with him only netting about 250g of the delicacy in three days' fishing last week.

A whitebaiter for 62 years, Mr Sutherland has held his stand on the Aparima River since it was opened to whitebaiters 38 years ago.

The season runs until the end of November over the whole of the South Island except for the West Coast.


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« Reply #45 on: April 03, 2009, 03:17:03 pm »


Coaster swept to death off spit

By SANDRA COX in HOKITIKA - The Press | Monday, 22 October 2007

A long-time West Coast whitebaiter was swept to his death near the mouth of the Hokitika River yesterday after he was caught unawares by a "rogue" wave, a witness said.

Kevin Stephen Kelly, 61, died after he was knocked into the river while he was fishing on a sand spit at Sunset Point about 1.10pm.

A witness, who did not want to be named, said there were three whitebaiters on the spit at the time.

A wave estimated to be only 30cm high broke over the spit behind Kelly, tipping him off balance and into the strongly flowing river, apparently boosted by strong winds and an incoming tide.

His body was washed up shortly after the incident.

The wave did not reach the other whitebaiters on the spit closer to the sea.

Kelly was the second whitebaiter to drown on the West Coast this season. A third whitebaiter died of a suspected heart attack and another in a car accident.

Kelly had fished the spit at Sunset Point for 40 years.

The weather yesterday was overcast and windy and the sea had a 1.5m swell.

The witness, a Hokitika man, was on the spit but further inland and taking a break from fishing. He said the tide was low.

All the whitebaiters on the end of the spit were taking turns to change positions, moving forward along the point to fish around the point.

Fifteen minutes earlier, he had fished the spot from which Kelly was swept away.

"I was sitting on a tree stump having lunch when a wave swept over the sandbar and I saw it pick up all the whitebaiters' buckets and packs," the man said.

"Then someone yelled that someone was in the water. By this time he was in the middle of the river."

Kelly tried to paddle for shore but was pulled under. He was swept around the point and washed ashore by the sea on the north side of the spit.

"He didn't see it coming as it was a rogue wave. No-one knew it was coming."

The whitebaiter said Kelly was too far away for other whitebaiters to throw anything to him. One man tried to swim to reach him but was unsuccessful.

Kelly was wearing chest waders.

Constable Jon Armstrong, of the Hokitika police, said any West Coast river bar was dangerous, especially during spring tides. Armstrong said Kelly's waders filled with water.

Kelly's family yesterday described a man who was always the first to help anyone, had a good heart and who adored his six grandchildren.

The night before his death he helped celebrate the seventh birthday of a grandchild.

A daughter, Stephanie Wilson, said Kelly used to tip excess whitebait on the garden as fertiliser as a child.

He would supply his five adult children with plenty of whitebait – before himself – as well as tomatoes from his garden.

Wilson said her father was a sawmiller for nearly 38 years, spending the last three years making stone pieces for gardens.

He had recently traded 1kg of whitebait for a new pair of waders, but was wearing an older pair when he was swept away.

She said he was well aware of the dangers of whitebaiting at the spit and took all precautions.

Wilson suggested whitebaiters at spots with high seas should consider wearing lifejackets. "In the seas we've had, it may not have made an iota of difference but then again, it might do."

The president of the West Coast Whitebait Association, Jim Bushby, of Greymouth, said bad weather in the last few weeks and a tide change just before the accident may have been contributing factors.

"It's just a tragedy all round, really," he said. "You need to be totally aware of the conditions and the conditions are not good for whitebaiting at the moment."

Bushby, who has been whitebaiting for 50 years, said he checked the Grey River yesterday when the tide had turned about 1pm and had seen large swells in the river. He said seas had been running high.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4245911a6047.html



Fourth Coast baiting tragedy

By VIV LOGIE - The Greymouth Star | Tuesday, 23 October 2007

WHITEBAITING TRAGEDY: Police and rescue personel head out to recover the body of a whitebaiter who drowned on Sunday after being swept away from the mouth of the Hokitika River by a freak wave.

WHITEBAITING TRAGEDY: Police and rescue personel head out to
recover the body of a whitebaiter who drowned on Sunday after being
swept away from the mouth of the Hokitika River by a freak wave.


The death of Hokitika whitebaiter Kevin Stephen Kelly on Saturday has again tainted an already tragic season on the West Coast.

In what Hokitika police are describing as a freak accident, Mr Kelly, 61, was swept from his whitebaiting spot by a freak wave. The incident was watched by whitebaiters along the river and one called police from his cellphone.

Constable Neil Gillespie said this morning Mr Kelly was swept into the mouth of the Hokitika River and washed out to sea. “According to reports Mr Kelly was treading water momentarily and tried to swim back to shore, but this was unsuccessful.” His body washed up about three quarters of an hour after police were notified.

Mr Kelly was fishing at Sunset Point when the accident happened at about 12.45pm. Emergency services swung into action, with the Solid Energy Rescue helicopter airborne soon after it was notified. The helicopter was stood down before making it to Hokitika. Mr Gillespie said Hokitika Surf Rescue was also alerted, but “they were unable to launch their craft because heavy surf did not enable them to”.

Mr Gillespie said the area where Mr Kelly was whitebaiting was dangerous, but “like most local fishermen, Mr Kelly was well aware of the dangers and would have known it was a risky area”. Mr Gillespie said he was unaware of anyone attempting to swim out and rescue Mr Kelly. “There were swells of between 1.5 and 2m high and no-one in their right mind would have swum out, although I cannot confirm one way or the other,” he added.

Earlier in the season, a whitebaiter was killed in a car crash in South Westland. Peter Awatere drowned on the Grey River and a Westport man collapsed and died on the Buller River.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=769&Itemid=1



Hokitika River blessed after tragedy

By JAMES BEECH - The Greymouth Star | Thursday, 25 October 2007

An Anglican priest blessed the Hokitika River on behalf of both Westland iwi and Hokitika police after the tragic drowning of Hokitika whitebaiter Kevin Kelly.

Reverend Mere Wallace stood at the same sand spit near Sunset Point where Mr Kelly was swept to his death on Saturday. Police asked Te Runanga o Makaawhio and Te Runanga o Ngati Waewae to bless the site, and Mrs Wallace, an ordained minister, carried out the honour on Monday.

Mrs Wallace noticed the conditions of the Tasman Sea were still dangerously rough two days after the tragedy. “I gave thanks for the life of Kevin and gave thanks to the sea for bringing him back to his family, that he wasn’t lost to the sea. “I prayed for all those whitebaiters and that they will be kept safe as they fish the waters, and prayed for Kevin’s family and friends. I also gave thanks to the sea for providing whitebait and feeding people.”

A handful of whitebaiters observed the ceremony. An unnamed whitebaiter later visited Mrs Wallace at her home and gave her six pounds of whitebait in thanks. “That told me he had friends who were as good as Kevin was. I didn’t know him personally but he must have gifted whitebait to his friends and family.”

Today, Mrs Wallace was to bless the newly-elected Westland District Council when it sits for the first time in Hokitika. “It’s really good the council looks at the spiritual dimension of their work. I’ll pray for the team and that the decisions they make help the citizens who trusted them and voted for them.”

Mrs Wallace has been an ordained priest since 1997. She said she was looking forward to attending both St George’s Theological College, in Jerusalem, for three weeks and the new Anglican centre in Rome for one week afterwards.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=782&Itemid=26
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« Reply #46 on: April 03, 2009, 03:18:10 pm »


Weeds strangle whitebait sites

By STAFF REPORTERS - The Greymouth Star | Friday, 26 October 2007

SPAWNING SITE SURVEY: Department of Conservation officer, Henk Stengs with local whitebaiters while visiting an inanga spawning site during his survey.

SPAWNING SITE SURVEY: Department of Conservation officer, Henk Stengs with
local whitebaiters while visiting an inanga spawning site during his survey.


A Department of Conservation survey of 136 West Coast whitebait spawning sites has found 67 are infested with invasive weeds and 50 trampled by sheep and cattle.

DOC conservation officer Henk Stengs, of Greymouth, visited the inanga spawning sites from Karamea to Haast between March and June. Inanga are the main adult species of whitebait. He found a central Westport creek suffocated with crack willow, and at another stream a farmer had unknowingly sprayed the long grass needed for the spawning eggs. If the grass is too short the sun will dry them and they will die. However, Mr Stengs also watched for 15 minutes as one “huge shoal” swam past him in the Okarito Lagoon, and — with two herons — watched some inanga spawn near Haast. Of the 136 sites he visited, only 26 were on DOC-managed land.

“At some sites, it can take as little as five minutes to get rid of weeds. In others, it would be several weeks.” Mr Stengs made five recommendations:


  • Exclude stock from riverside margins.
  • Carry out weed control.
  • Involve other agencies such as local councils.
  • Look at the wider tidal areas.
  • More public education.

He also admitted there were challenges, particularly the cost. “It would be a long term project, and we would have to maintain landowner support.” Inanga lay their eggs in riverside grasses during the big spring tides that occur during autumn. They hatch and head out to sea, returning in spring as whitebait. Mr Stengs said there were other factors that affected inanga spawning — for example, mice ate the eggs and perch and trout were known predators of inanga.

http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=798&Itemid=1
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« Reply #47 on: April 03, 2009, 03:19:38 pm »


Whitebaiter dies

The Greymouth Star | Monday, 29 October 2007

A 91-year-old Greymouth whitebaiter died on the banks of the Grey River this morning.

Sergeant Nigel Orpwood said friends found the man on the river bank near the Cobden bridge. It is the fifth whitebaiting-related death on the West Coast this season and the second in Greymouth. Peter Awatere collapsed and died on September 06, and there have also been accidents at Bruce Bay, Westport and Hokitika.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=804&Itemid=1



Gentleman whitebaiter, 91, found dead

By SANDRA COX - The Press | Tuesday, 30 October 2007

GENTLEMAN: Ron McTaggart died on the banks of the Grey River yesterday. The 91-year-old is the fifth to die in whitebaiting-related activities on the West Coast this season. SANDRA COX/The Press.

GENTLEMAN: Ron McTaggart died on the banks of the Grey River
yesterday. The 91-year-old is the fifth to die in whitebaiting-related
activities on the West Coast this season. — SANDRA COX/The Press


A 91-year-old Greymouth whitebaiter died at his favourite spot on the banks of the Grey River yesterday morning, the fifth to die in whitebaiting-related activities on the West Coast this season. Since the start of September, two whitebaiters have drowned. Another died of a suspected heart attack and another in a car accident returning from a whitebaiting trip. In the latest incident, Ron McTaggart was spotted in the river and could not be revived by his fellow whitebaiters.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

McTaggart, a former coalminer who once helped save the life of another whitebaiter, was a "perfect gentleman", one of his friends said.

Ken Dalzell, who was fishing about 20m from the man on the north bank of the Grey River near the Cobden bridge, said he looked up from fishing to see what he thought was a coat in the river but soon realised it was Ron McTaggart.

He and other whitebaiters raced to the spot to try and resuscitate him and keep him comfortable, while another called for an ambulance.

But police said last night the whitebaiters had been unable to revive him.

Dalzell paid tribute to the "gentleman whitebaiter" who would alert fishermen if he had missed a shoal, and who would not take another's position.

"He was a perfect gentleman and I don't think anyone would have a scrap with him."

McTaggart had always been very cautious about fishing near moving water and had respect for the river, Dalzell said.

About 25 years ago, McTaggart played a role helping save the life of another whitebaiter, whose car had plunged into the river.

Dalzell and two others continued to take advantage of good fishing yesterday. Dalzell said he would give some of the catch to the widow.

McTaggart's career was detailed in a Press article last month.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/thepress/4254777a6047.html
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« Reply #48 on: April 03, 2009, 03:20:03 pm »


Whitebait on the run, but scarce down south

By LAURA MILLS and JAMES BEECH - The Greymouth Star | Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Expectant whitebaiters lined the riverbanks in Hokitika and Greymouth this morning but in South Westland people are struggling to remember a worse season.

At the turn of the tide in Greymouth, about 9am today, the river was lined with people hoping to repeat the success of yesterday when many took home 5 pounds each, and some much more.

In Hokitika, there were reports of 300-pound catches. Today there was cautious optimism among whitebaiters on the banks of the Hokitika River with word that the bait was finally starting to run.

Kath Windley, of Ross, was one of 12-16 whitebaiters using scoop nets at Southside and she said good shoals were starting to flow. Her best catch was 14 pounds, but just three pounds yesterday. “There’s a little whitebait coming up now but it’s harder to catch for the scoopers because it’s out wide. But I’m only doing it for pleasure and family.”

Christchurch man Robbie Houghton was whitebaiting while visiting family in Hokitika. While he had just started, he said it had been “going pretty good the last few days. There was a fair few last Friday, they’re in the middle and higher up the river.”

Colin Mahuika, of Kaniere, said his best day was a catch of up to 20 pounds. A Hokitika River baiter for 20 years, he said this season was shaping up to be one of the better seasons and better than last year. “There’s been a lot caught this last week, trenchers are pretty happy. It’s not so hot in South Westland but it’s about time this river had another term.”

Some fishermen in the south have packed up early, frustrated by the slim pickings. Colin McKinney, from Westland Whitebait in Haast, said it was the worst season in the 40-odd years he had been in business. “Normally the bulk of the bait is down our way, and we’ve supplied around Greymouth for the last few years. “I don’t know whether it’s the sea temperature ... but it’s not coming down to us.”  Mr McKinney said Haast rivers normally got a couple of good runs in September, and a bit around Labour weekend. But with only two weeks left, and the outlook gloomy, some fishermen had headed home early for the season. Restaurants used to serving whitebait were also looking at other meals, he said. “You miss the market, and restaurants lose their enthusiasm. “That’s the way it is when you’re dealing with nature.”


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=809&Itemid=43



Bay enjoying bait bonanza

By HALEY GALE - The Nelson Mail | Wednesday, 31 October 2007

BOUNTY: Nelson whitebaiter Darren Squire with about 5kg of whitebait he caught in the Takaka River on Monday. HAYLEY GALE/Nelson Mail.

BOUNTY: Nelson whitebaiter Darren Squire with about 5kg
of whitebait he caught in the Takaka River on Monday.
— HAYLEY GALE/Nelson Mail


Whitebaiters in Golden Bay are having a bumper season, with some saying it's the best ever.

Collingwood Cafe proprietor John Donovan, who sells whitebait all around the country and exports it to Australia, said he could not remember a better year.

"It's slackened off a bit now but most of the whitebait has come from the Takaka River. There have been days when people were catching 50lb (23kg) per person. It's the best year yet," he said.

Whitebaiters at the Aorere River had also had a good season.

The current price of whitebait in Golden Bay was $66 a kilogram, but that had dropped to $22 a kilogram in Takaka when the season was at its height.

Whitebaiters at the Takaka River have enjoyed good catches this week.

Darren Squire, from Nelson, was pleased to have caught about 5kg of whitebait on Monday morning.

"I won't be selling it — I'll enjoy the feed. It's a perfect day for whitebaiting," he said.

Paula Waghorn, also from Nelson, said she came to the Takaka River every year during the whitebait season.

"It's the cleanest river around and this year has been brilliant. I've been here since 6am and I've got about 5lb (2.3kg) so far. I don't intend selling it — I just like to catch enough for my Christmas dinner," she said.

Whitebaiters also reported catching an increasing number of "bellies" over the past week. These fish were too big to be classed as whitebait and could not be used. The whitebait season closes on November 30.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelsonmail/4256907a6510.html
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« Reply #49 on: April 03, 2009, 03:20:58 pm »


Whitebaiter threatens DOC staff

By JAMES BEECH - The Greymouth Star | Friday, 02 November 2007

A Department of Conservation ranger called for support from Ross police when he was verbally threatened by a whitebaiter on Tuesday. The 44-year-old man was warned at around 1pm for disorderly behaviour but not charged.

The incident occurred near the Totara River where whitebait had been flowing. The West Coast Tai Poutini Conservancy in Hokitika said the Totara River had been the scene of a lot of whitebaiter activity once word got out the bait was running. There had been friction between established baiters and newcomers following the rush.

Community relations programme manager Ted Brennan said whitebaiters from the area called DOC to report “blatant breaches” of regulations and the department appreciated the calls as its rangers could not be everywhere.

Mr Brennan said a “small number” of prosecution files were being prepared for DOC’s legal section over the course of the season and for the whole West Coast. “When there’s no bait around, people are good at complying with regulations. Because there’s bait around, people are getting greedy and fishing with more than one net.”

Mr Brennan said other common infringements included water behind the screens or overlength screens and fishing out of hours, either before the permitted 6am or after 9pm. Penalties of up to $5000 are possible if a person is convicted and they may face the loss of their fishing gear which was used in the offence.

“The main message is the regulations are there for good reasons, to help people enjoy whitebaiting and to protect the whitebait themselves,” Mr Brennan said. “One of our concerns is finding didymo in the Kakapotahi River and we want to ensure scoop netters, who travel from river to river, clean their nets using a 5% soap solution so it doesn’t spread further.”

About half a dozen rangers were checking whitebaiter compliance on the Coast as part of their normal duties. The rangers inspect baiting compliance at deliberately random times.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=833&Itemid=1



Mum's gate

Southlander - The Southland Times | Saturday, 03 November 2007

You could tell something was wrong when the mother-in-law didn't go down to the Waihopai to whitebait, writes Gerry Forde in this week's Southlander.

She lived for the sport of whitebaiting and often the conversation began with "How many today, mum?" "Seven." "Seven pound in one morning!" "No, seven total. If I get the same for the rest of the week we'll have a feed by Friday." More than 10 years ago I wrote about her wearing bright orange pants to the river, perhaps to attract whitebait. But I encouraged her lack of fashion sense convinced that she would be easy spotted in bright tights should she end floating up the Waihopai.

She survived the orange pants — so did we, barely — but she didn't survive the bad weather.

It blew down her fence, one that borders an empty section alongside her property. And then it flattened her. Being down she hated the thought of not being able to catch and cook for herself and her husband who's in a wheelchair.

Worse still, she hated the thought that I might cook for them.

Strangely, all her anxiety and unwanted dependence became focused on the harmless lawn mowing man.

Although she was laid up in her bed she was prepared to spring up to see him on to the property.

"Well, he can't just see himself in; the gate's locked and thank goodness because a woman of my age needs her security." Not knowing what time of the day he might come, she was on edge the whole time. Course, she never thought to ring.

To this day she denies nodding off that afternoon.

Her husband swears that he heard her snoring. Then the snoring got louder and louder until it was shaking the house.

That's because it wasn't snoring but the sound of a lawn mower in the back section.

She bounced up in bed: "You let him in." "No I didn't," replied her husband.

"Well I've been lying awake here all afternoon waiting for him and somehow he slips by and gets through a locked gate." Was she loosing her mind or was there a conspiracy to enter her property? She thought about ringing the police but decided to call her daughter instead.

She reminded her mother that while the gate might be locked, the fence had blown down in the wind.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/southlandtimes/4259440a16345.html
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