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“WHITEBAIT”


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #250 on: August 01, 2012, 05:14:25 pm »


Controls called for to let whitebait recover

By KAY BLUNDELL - The Dominion Post | 5:00AM - Wednesday, 01 August 2012

OTAKI WHITEBAITERS are calling for fishing restrictions on rivers to boost depleted whitebait stock.

The call follows a warning from freshwater scientist Mike Joy that four out of five whitebait species are on the official Conservation Department threatened species list. Dr Joy calls for tighter restrictions as the whitebait season looms.

Fred McDonald has been whitebaiting on the Otaki River since the 1960s and says he and a group of "hard-core" whitebaiters support a two-year rahui — temporary ban on fishing — on local rivers.

"The stocks need time to recover. I have had my share. The waterflow needs restoring to the original waterways and wetlands. We need to clean up the waterways and give the whitebait a home to go to," Mr McDonald said.

He remembers as a child whitebaiters catching more than two kerosene drums full of fish. "It has got worse and worse over the past 10 years. Now you are lucky to get enough for a few fritters for a meal. The stock is just not there. It is a big thrill to catch a pound now."

Ron Wylie has been whitebaiting on the Otaki River for more than 30 years and believes fishing should be restricted right along the Kapiti Coast.

Whitebaiting was restricted to 5am to 8pm, or 6am to 9pm, during daylight saving, but Mr Wylie said fishermen flouted the regulations.

"They [whitebait] get a real hiding, people fish all night when a run is on."

A good catch used to be 30-40lb (14-18 kilograms), he said, and in 1993 he got more than 100lb on one tide.

"There must have been more than a tonne of whitebait caught all the way up the river. It was the biggest run I have ever seen. We used to talk in milk bottle pints. Now 2-3lb would be a good catch and 10lb a really good catch."

"A lot of the unemployed guys camp out there, they have nothing else to do. If they get a few pound they sell or raffle all their bait," he said.

If there was no fishing inside the Otaki River floodgates more fish would get up the river, he said.

The whitebaiting season opens on August 15 and runs to November 30, except on the West Coast, where the season is shorter.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7387881/Controls-called-for-to-let-whitebait-recover
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« Reply #251 on: August 03, 2012, 02:51:26 am »


Aggression goes with pillaging of whitebait fishery

DOC is urging fishermen to help conserve the fishery

By MATT BOWEN - Waikato Times | Thursday, 02 August 2012

WHITEBAITERS have threatened to shoot, drown and kill Conservation Department ranger Chris Annandale over the years.

Now, with the season's opening day on August 15 fast approaching, DOC Waikato area manager Matt Cook is calling on fishermen to show respect as his staff work to conserve the fishery.

Mr Annandale has some hair-raising tales from his years spent patrolling the Waikato River.

The worst memory is vivid.

He and a partner had stopped their boat at a stand with six nets out, when you're allowed just one, and were busy confiscating them when their owner appeared.

"We had a pontoon stuck out the back and [the whitebaiter] came belting down the river and rammed us and perched his boat on our pontoon directly behind the motor — there was less than a metre separating us. He threatened to climb aboard and kill the both of us. It was very, very tense."

Had the man clipped a log or wave before impact Mr Annandale reckons he'd have been torn in two.

"I just asked him to settle down and said you know I've got your details you will be hearing from us."

The man was prosecuted for having more than one net and being more than 10 metres from it. The police also charged him with wilful damage and threatening behaviour.

It's the same year after year - through "bluster and bravado" people try and get away with fishing illegally.

Drugs, alcohol and money are also part of the scene.

Whitebait sold to fishmongers in South Auckland would get about $65 per kilo while a buyer on the river would pay about $55.

It also depends on the season, in supply and demand terms, and what's happening generally.

When the America's Cup was in Auckland demand soared and a kilo was going for up to $150.

Drugs are a concern too.

"Some people, you'll pull up alongside their stand and look directly in their eyes and if the signals are there you put it in reverse and bugger off out of it," Mr Annandale said.

"They're probably high on P or something and they would probably slide a knife or boat-hook through you without blinking an eye."

Mr Annandale said most fishermen share his view of the regulations and the fishery.

He wants his grandchildren to be able to catch a feed of whitebait as he does.

"If these people pillage it the way they are then that's not going to happen — the majority are waking up to that."

Unfortunately, some aren't.

"Eighty per cent are really good, 15 percent swing either way, and five per cent it doesn't matter what you do. They're never going to change."

Fishing is allowed between 5am and 8pm during the season, from August 15 to November 30, and from 6am to 9pm when daylight saving comes into effect.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7398005/Aggression-goes-with-pillaging-of-whitebait-fishery



Why our whitebait are at risk

In Our Nature

By NICOLA TOKI - Stuff Blogs | Thursday, 02 August 2012

IN THE spirit of the Olympics, I thought it timely to feature some of our extreme athletes of the natural world, masters of swimming endurance, strength and agility. I am of course talking about wriggly, wonderful, whitebait. They would clock up a series of gold medals, being so tiny yet having been found 200km out to sea, for their ability to climb sheer vertical waterfalls and for their ultimate endurance in surviving their many threats. But perhaps time is running out for our much loved whitebait.

As I have mentioned (probably repeatedly), I hail from Southland, so whitebaiting is a huge part of my heritage. When I was a kid, I wrinkled my nose up at whitebait (much to the delight of parents), and requested the "eyes" to be taken out — there's something rather unnerving to eat food that's looking back up at you.




The bloke quite enjoys whitebaiting, but I suspect it's more the hour or so of peace and quiet he gets while perched on a riverbank. I go with him on occasion, but I'm not that popular, since I (a) talk a LOT while the important business of whitebaiting is happening and (b) cheer loudly when I see a group of whitebait edge around the outside of the net and make their way further upstream.

If you listen to old-school whitebaiters, tales of taking away the bait in kerosene drums some 50 years ago are not uncommon. You'd be hard-pressed to get that kind of volume now, and despite fluctuating catches from year to year, most whitebaiters agree that catches today are far reduced. So what's the story?

If you weren't already aware, whitebait are not in fact a single kind of fish, they are the juvenile or larval form of five different species of native freshwater fish. They grow up to become inanga, koaro,  banded kokopu, giant kokopu and short-jawed kokopu. These native fish are known as galaxiids, due to the Milky Way-like galaxy patterns found on the adult fish, in particular the giant kokopu. Inanga makes up by far the largest portion of whitebait, but the other four species are in serious trouble — now as threatened as wood pigeons.

When it comes to survival, these little fish are up against it. First they have to run the gauntlet of predators on the river, which includes trout, shags, eels and humans with nets. However, a more sinister and destructive presence is threatening their very existence, and indeed the much-loved whitebait fritter — the pollution of our waterways and the destruction of whitebait habitat.

More than 90 per cent of our lowland rivers are now polluted, and we know that the intensification of agribusiness has contributed largely to this problem. What we are now seeing is the impact of that "progress" on the long-term survival of our freshwater fish.

New Zealand freshwater ecologist Professor Mike Joy predicts that if we keep polluting at the rate we do now,  our native fish will be extinct by 2050. He says we should revise the whitebait regulations, get licences for catching whitebait, that we do it for trout (a common, introduced fish) so why not whitebait (threatened, native fish)? Why is it you can sell it to restaurants? Shouldn't we just catch a feed for ourselves and our families? He's getting people rarked up because he wants New Zealand to have a wider debate about what is happening to our freshwater. In my view he's got a point.

Four out of five of the whitebait species are threatened, but whitebait regulations haven't changed in decades. During that time, we've increased the number of cows to more than the number of people in New Zealand. Just to give that some context — Colorado is around the same size as NZ, has 20 per cent more people, and has a total dairy cattle herd of 130,000. We have 6.2 million dairy cows — for the same area of land. It's not just about dairy cows — in fact many other types of development degrades freshwater, and, yes, urban stream pollution also plays a part, but the impact of stock numbers, conversions, and intensification in recent years cannot be denied.

There are several reasons that's a problem for whitebait. First, whitebait spawn on a spring tide, by laying eggs in the vegetated areas next to streams. They need cool, moist, protected areas, because the eggs remain there until the next spring tide when they are picked up by the tide, hatch into the stream and wriggle out to sea. Modifying riverbanks and livestock grazing up to the edge of streams wrecks the habitat, and leaves the vulnerable wee whitebait eggs out to dry. A recent study by Canterbury University found that many whitebait eggs are being sunburnt, frying before they even hatch, due to insufficient habitat protection on banks.

The other big problem for whitebait is pollution. Much like attempting to walk or cycle in a polluted city on smoggy days, our freshwater fish struggle to survive in polluted waterways — they need clean, high-quality rivers to thrive. But we're running out of those. There are some (usually not for profit, or volunteer) organisations that are trying to address this, but the whitebait need the government to look out for them. Nutrient runoff and sediment filling all the spaces between the rocks in the riverbeds are simply making life impossible for our iconic fish and, in my view, also putting at risk a big part of our heritage. What will it take to stop us losing these things forever?

The whitebait season opens throughout the country — except on the West Coast — on August 15 and runs till November 30, with fishing restricted to 5am to 8pm, or 6am to 9pm during daylight saving. The Conservation Department (DOC) manages whitebaiting.




So, what about you guys? Keen whitebaiters? Noticed a difference in catch numbers? Worried about the state of our freshwater? I know I am. Is it time to give our precious whitebait a break? What do you think we should do to help them out?

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/in-our-nature/7393261/Why-our-whitebait-are-at-risk
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« Reply #252 on: August 09, 2012, 04:34:18 pm »


Little wrigglers

By DELWYN DICKEY - Rodney Times | Thursday, 09 August 2012

QUENTIN O'BRIEN: The Mahurangi Technical Institute scientist has been developing the giant kokopu breeding technique for five years.
QUENTIN O'BRIEN: The Mahurangi Technical Institute
scientist has been developing the giant kokopu
breeding technique for five years.


WHITEBAIT FRITTER lovers have good news.

A fish breeding breakthrough at Warkworth means factory farming of the delicious little wrigglers is now possible.

Whitebait could soon be picked up at the supermarket and possibly exported too.

Mahurangi Technical Institute has managed to breed giant kokopu — one of the five native fish collectively called whitebait — on a large scale. This comes amid concerns about falling numbers.

But not all are convinced commercial farming will help dwindling supplies.

Calls for tighter restrictions during the whitebait season have come from Massey University freshwater scientist Mike Joy who says commercial fishing of wild stock should be stopped. Four out of five whitebait species are on the official Conservation Department threatened species list. Dr Joy says the overall decline comes from poor water quality.

Researchers at Warkworth's institute don't believe their breeding programme will bring an end to whitebait fishing in the wild. They see it as a business opportunity which will take some pressure off the wild population.

The private institution specialises in the development of freshwater fish breeding techniques for both commercial and conservation purposes.

Years of research under head scientist and eel specialist Tagried Kurwie on the breeding of the New Zealand shortfinned eel as a commercial fish stock has seen it gain some international recognition.

Mahurangi Technical Institute director and founder Paul Decker thought eel breeding research would be his organisation's big success story — rather than whitebait. The institute is close to developing a technique to breed eels in a closed life cycle, something that could also help wild populations which have plummeted internationally.

The breakthrough in giant kokopu breeding has taken five years of research, mostly by aquatic scientist Quentin O'Brien. But the magnitude of Mahurangi's success has left staff stunned.

"They're eating us out of house and home," Mr Decker says. "With one female able to produce 20,000 eggs, which only take 27 days to hatch, we've got hundreds of thousands and are running out of containers to put them all in. We've got a whitebait tsunami on our hands."

Many of the giant kokopu breeding techniques will be transferable to the other whitebait species.

Getting a business plan sorted is next on the list, Mr Decker says.

The institute should be able to start supplying fish farmers properly early next year.

The whitebait season is from August 15 to November 30 for most of New Zealand, and from September 01 until November 14 on the West Coast.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/rodney-times/7444486/Little-wrigglers
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« Reply #253 on: August 11, 2012, 03:19:07 pm »


Whitebait breeding programme success

Breakthrough could lead to export business — North Island researchers say they have made
a significant breakthrough in the commercial farming of whitebait. DELWYN DICKIE reports.


The Southland Times | Friday, 10 August 2012

TOP ROW: Giant kokopu fish egg (left) and a newly hatched giant kokopu. BOTTOM ROW: Giant kokopu eggs with developing fish visible (left) and a giant kokopu.
TOP ROW: Giant kokopu fish egg (left) and a newly hatched giant kokopu. BOTTOM ROW: Giant kokopu
eggs with developing fish visible (left) and a giant kokopu.


WHITEBAIT LOVERS have good news. A fish breeding breakthrough by researchers at Warkworth, north of Auckland, is being claimed as a big step forward in farming the delicious little wrigglers — so much so that they envisage the day when whitebait could be picked up at your local supermarket, and possibly exported.

While they may not be the first to have cracked the method of breeding the giant kokopu — one of the five native fish whose young we collectively call whitebait — researchers at Mahurangi Technical Institute have managed it on a large scale.

They don't believe their breeding programme will bring an end to fishing for the little critters in the wild, but they do see it as a serious business opportunity, which will also take some pressure off the wild population.

The private institution specialises in the development of freshwater fish breeding techniques for commercial and conservation purposes.

Its years of research under head scientist and eel specialist Tagried Kurwie, on the breeding of the New Zealand short-finned eel as a commercial fish stock, has seen them gain international recognition.

Institute director and founder Paul Decker had always thought eel breeding research would be their big success story.

They are tantalising close to developing a technique to breed these animals in a closed life cycle, something that could also help wild eel populations, which have plummeted internationally.

But so far it has eluded them.

The breakthrough in giant kokopu breeding has taken five years of research and trials, mostly by aquatic scientist Quentin O'Brien. The magnitude of their success has left them stunned.

"They're eating us out of house and home," Mr Decker says. "With one female able to produce 20,000 eggs, which only take 27 days to hatch, we've got hundreds of thousands and are running out of containers to put them all in. We've got a tsunami on our hands."

While kokopu are only one of the fish species that make up whitebait, they are the tastiest. That makes the success of breeding them as a commercial stock so appealing, special projects manager David Cooper says.

There are two other kokopu species in the mix — banded and shortjaw, along with inanga and koaro. The giant kokopu fish are the longest-lived of the whitebait species at around 30 years. They don't develop the strong fishy taste of the other shorter-lived species until much later. So the more giant kokopu in the mix, the better the quality.

Understanding how the fish breed in the wild was a big part of their success, Mr Cooper says. That will also make it easier to supply the eggs to prospective fish farmers.

The parent fish live in gently flowing, overgrown streams, swampy lagoons and lake edges. They swim down to the lower reaches or wetlands and on a particularly high tide lay their eggs in the long grass on stream edges. These are safe from water predators like eels, but are still kept moist in the grass. The eggs hatch after a month, at the time of the next extra-high tide, and are swept out to sea.

It's thought the hatchlings stay within a few kilometres of land for about three months before heading back to shore and up streams, dodging whitebaiters and their nets as they go.

The eggs' peculiarities make it easy to supply them to prospective farmers as they won't need to be shipped in water with the accompanying special handling needs and weight. Farmers will be able to order their eggs and 10 weeks later have whitebait to sell, Mr Decker says. Three fish farmers are already interested, he adds.

The conservation of freshwater native fish is at the heart of the institute's aquaculture department research. Mr Decker says that the laying of its eggs in grass helps to explain the decline of the giant kokopu, and why fencing stock from and cleaning up waterways is important.

Massey University freshwater scientist Mike Joy says poor water quality is the main reason for the decline in native fish numbers, but is sceptical that commercial farming can help dwindling numbers in the wild and may even create problems of its own.

Besides targeting water quality, Dr Joy has called for tighter restrictions on whitebaiting, and a ban on commercial fishing of the wild stock. Four out of five whitebait species are on the official Department of Conservation threatened species list.

He argues that a commercial fish farming model is not an environmental solution for the species and points to what he says are serious issues surrounding the feeding of farmed fish using meal and oils that generally come from wild fish stocks.

Mr Cooper says that many of the breeding techniques for the giant kokopu will be transferable to the other whitebait species, and repopulating freshwater streams with kokopu is being looked at.

First up will be Tawharanui Regional Park near Warkworth, where a few hundred giant kokopu are likely to be released in the next couple of years.

Once a population has gone from a stream, young fish won't repopulate on their own, Mr Cooper says.

They need the scent of an established population in the stream before they will venture up it. Otherwise they think there must be something wrong with the area and steer clear of it.

So large fish need to establish in the streams first, to draw youngsters.

But for now, getting a business plan sorted is next on the list, Mr Decker says, with the institute expecting it should be able to start supplying the eggs properly by early next year.

Dr Joy hopes the prospect of commercial farming won't make people complacent about over-fishing as another whitebait season approaches, running in Southland from August 15 until November 30.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/7452726/Whitebait-breeding-programme-success
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« Reply #254 on: August 15, 2012, 01:48:35 pm »


Pest warning for whitebait season

By ROGER MORONEY - Hawke's Bay Today | Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Heavy rain in Hawke's Bay looks set to dampen the spirits of whitebaiters at the season opener tomorrow.
Heavy rain in Hawke's Bay looks set to dampen the spirits
of whitebaiters at the season opener tomorrow.


WHILE THE whitebait season is set to kick off tomorrow there was little sign of preparation on the murky waters of the Bay's rivers yesterday.

Although work appeared to have been carried out on some stands on the Ngaruroro and Tutaekuri rivers the waters were still brown with mud and debris; the results of ongoing heavy rain across the region.

While the tiny delicacies may be hard to spot, and harder to snare, the Ministry for Primary Industries is reminding whitebaiters to check, clean and dry their equipment between waterways to avoid the spread of unwanted freshwater pests that can clog nets and choke waterways, including whitebait habitats.

"Unwanted freshwater pests such as didymo and lagarosiphon pose a serious threat to our rivers, streams and lakes," national co-ordination Team Manager John Sanson said. "Once in a waterway they can disperse rapidly and destroy the environmental, recreational and aesthetic values of our waterways."

He said restricting the whitebaiting to one catchment only was the best way to stop the spread of unwanted pests.

"However, if you are going to be moving between waterways we ask you to check, clean and dry any equipment that has come into contact with river or lake water, particularly nets and waders."

Some freshwater pests, such as didymo, were often invisible to the naked eye and could be spread by a single drop of water.

"Treat every waterway as though it is infected — even if you can't see the danger you could be spreading it."


http://www.hawkesbaytoday.co.nz/news/pest-warning-for-whitebait-season-/1503657
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« Reply #255 on: August 15, 2012, 03:45:51 pm »


Whitebait opening day outlook poor

Otago Daily Times | Wednesday, 15 August 2012

HIGH FLOWS in many Otago rivers mean opening day of the whitebait fishing season today might not be very successful, the Department of Conservation says.

The best option for those hoping to get their first taste of the tiny delicacy might be the Lower Clutha River, where rain had not been as heavy, coastal Otago freshwater ranger Pete Ravenscroft said.

Another reason was that a large whitebait-spawning site was found on the river this year.

Rangers would be visiting whitebaiters along the region's rivers, focusing on those fishing outside the permitted hours of 5am to 8pm (6am to 9pm after daylight saving starts, on September 30). Transgressors face fines of up to $5000.

Conservation work had been continuing to improve spawning habitats in Otago rivers, Doc, Contact Energy and landowners helping restore habitat along the banks of the Clutha.

"Whitebait are struggling ... so any work to sustain them should be encouraged," Mr Ravenscroft said.

DOC would be carrying out an anonymous survey of whitebait catch on the Clutha River this season to determine whether the enhancement work was increasing whitebait numbers.

The Taieri River would be the focus next, especially the control of glyceria which was growing out of control on its banks, he said.

"At the moment, there is no spawning habitat along this river because of this invasive weed. I'd like to hear from any landowners wanting to get involved in whitebait enhancement work along the Taieri," Mr Ravenscroft said.

The Otago season runs until November 30.


http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/otago/221629/otago-whitebait-opening-day-outlook-poor



Whitebaiters eyeing net result

By BEN PARSONS - Wanganui Chronicle | Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Whitebaiting on the Matarawa Stream.
Whitebaiting on the Matarawa Stream.

FISHERS around the North Island are readying their nets for another quick but exciting whitebait season.

Today is opening day and Department of Conservation expects the season to be a bit of a mixed bag.

Jim Campbell, programme manager of biodiversity for the Whanganui area office, said a combination of loss of water quality and weather could define the success or otherwise of the season.

"Some farmers have now fenced off their properties so that cattle can't damage the water quality (but) it is hard to tell whether this will improve the water quality for our native fish," Mr Campbell said.

Last season was a success only for a few, so he said fishers would be hoping this one would prove to be better.

He said there were several key regulations that the public needed to be aware of.

Fishing was only permitted between 5am and 8pm or between 6am and 9pm when New Zealand Daylight Saving was being observed.

No one was allowed to fish for whitebait within 20m of any tide gate, floodgate, confluence or culvert.

Nor was anybody permitted to do any fishing for whitebait from a bridge or from a vessel.

And whitebait nets must have a mouth no larger than 4.5m (measured around the inside of the net frame) and framing material no wider than 120mm.

Mr Campbell said that from today, DOC staff and honorary rangers would be patrolling waterways to ensure compliance with the rules and be available to answer any questions.

The season closes on November 30.

Whitebait is the only fish amateurs are allowed to catch and sell. The delicacy is expected to fetch more than $100 per kg this season.


http://www.wanganuichronicle.co.nz/news/whitebaiters-eyeing-net-result/1505417



Netters need to keep within the law: DOC

By ROGER MORONEY - Hawke's Bay Today | Wednesday, 15 August 2012

NZ DELICACY: Whitebaiters must obey the rules or face prosecution. — Photo: MARK MITCHELL.
NZ DELICACY: Whitebaiters must obey the rules or face prosecution.
 — Photo: MARK MITCHELL.


IF PAST whitebait seasons are anything to go by Department of Conservation officers in Hawke's Bay will likely haul in up to a dozen netters breaking the strict whitebaiting regulations over the next three months.

"We always hope we'll come across none, but we get them every year," compliance officer Tom Barr said.

"It is something we take very seriously. We have done a lot of work to protect the whitebait habitat and we will be carrying out regular patrols so that in years to come there will always be whitebait to catch."

Mr Barr said while there was no quota in place, and no need for whitebait pursuers to be registered, there were strict regulations governing areas that could be fished, and the size of mesh and screens, and coverage, of nets used.

There were also strict fishing hours — between 5am and 8pm, which will change to 6am and 9am when daylight saving kicks on September 30.

All the relevant rules and regulations were available from DOC offices or on the website, Mr Barr said. "Ignorance is no defence — it is not our responsibility to go and tell them, it is their responsibility to find out."

He said most whitebaiters played by the rules, but there were always some who broke them. "If everyone fishes legitimately then there will always be a percentage of whitebait which get through, and that means they will be back next year, and the year after that."

People caught in breach of regulations would have their nets, which can cost between $300 and $500, and screens seized.

"And in many cases we will prosecute — it will be off to court."

Mr Barr said DoC officers would be patrolling randomly. "There will be no pattern to it. We can turn up anywhere and at any time."

He said officers were not intent on enforcing it because they did not want people to catch whitebait. "We do, and we want them to enjoy it — they simply just have to play by the rules."

Despite heavy rains which have filled the rivers with sediment, the whitebait were still likely to be running. The murky waters would not bother them, although the only thing literally against them would be the river flow.


http://www.hawkesbaytoday.co.nz/news/netters-need-to-keep-within-the-law-doc/1505446



Whitebait from rivers off the menu

The Canterbury Star | Wednesday, 15 August 2012

NO GO: Whitebaiters are being warned off the Avon and Heathcote rivers.
NO GO: Whitebaiters are being warned off the Avon and Heathcote rivers.

WHITEBAITERS are being warned against fishing in or around the Avon and Heathcote rivers this season.

The season was due to start today but Canterbury Medical Officer of Health Dr Alistair Humphrey says eating whitebait caught in the city's waterways is dangerous.

"People who take whitebait from the Avon or Heathcote not only put themselves and other consumers at risk but also make us question if any whitebait is safe to eat," Dr Humphrey says.

The latest concern stems from a soon-to-be released ESR report showing silt in the river may now be contaminated with oocycts (eggs) from giardia, Dr Humphrey said.

"This can cause explosive bloody diarrhoea for months. These tiny eggs can live for years in silt and can be released into the water when the silt is stirred up," he says.

"Giardia can also survive freezing, so once thawed giardia within the whitebait can contaminate other foods."

Dr Humphrey said that even before the earthquake Christchurch's waterways rarely met recreational water standards because they were contaminated with duck and dog faeces.


http://www.starcanterbury.co.nz/news/whitebait-rivers-menu/1505484



Muddy start for whitebaiting

Waiting for that lucky first catch

By PENNY WARDLE - The Marlborough Express | Wednesday, 15 August 2012

GO FISH: Blenheim’s Peter McManaway checks his whitebait net ahead of the opening of the whitebait season today. — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.
GO FISH: Blenheim’s Peter McManaway checks his whitebait net ahead of the opening
of the whitebait season today. — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.


MUDDY WATERS mean only the keenest whitebaiters would be heading down to the Wairau River in Marlborough for the opening of the season today.

Yesterday morning Blenheim retiree Peter McManaway said the track leading down to his whitebaiting spot alongside the Wairau River was so muddy he would not make it to opening day. The water should be just fishable but was so dirty he was happy to delay his start to the 3-month season.

After a few feeds of whitebait patties and omelettes expertly cooked by his wife Marie, he gave 90 per cent of his catch to family and older friends, Mr McManaway said.

"I have always been against selling whitebait," he said. "I think they should be caught for sport like trout."

He always released his first catch of the season, believing this gave him luck and he liked to know those fish would go on to breed.

Mr McManaway has a garden-shed with bunks beside his whitebaiting stand, which is on private property. The idea was to put the net in the river, have a 30-to-45 minute kip, then pull it out to check his catch.

However, there was seldom time for a sleep, he said. Endless visitors dropped by and the nice thing was that there was always plenty of time for a chat.

The one bad thing about whitebaiting on the Wairau was people who roared down the river on wakeboards and jet-skis, deliberately cutting close to the bank and swamping him with a massive wake, Mr McManaway said.

He hoped the Marlborough District Council would do something to stop people who were exceeding the 5-knot (9km/h) speed limit.

The council says anyone speeding can be reported to Maritime NZ in Picton, phone 520 3068 or 027 592 9807.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/7481820/Muddy-start-for-whitebaiting
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« Reply #256 on: August 16, 2012, 09:28:18 pm »


More tall tales than whitebait on first day

As the whitebait season kicked off on Wednesday, the Taranaki
Daily News visited the Waiwhakaiho River to see who was there.


By LEIGHTON KEITH - Taranaki Daily News | Thursday, 16 August 2012

WET WAIT: Tracy Skelton, of New Plymouth, inspects his scoop net after lifting it out of the Waiwhakaiho River, on the first day of the whitebait season. — ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.
WET WAIT: Tracy Skelton, of New Plymouth, inspects his
scoop net after lifting it out of the Waiwhakaiho River,
on the first day of the whitebait season.
 — ANDY JACKSON/Fairfax NZ.


A SPOT OF bad weather has never been enough to deter whitebaiters.

Last year it was snow, this year wind and rain, but still the hardy were out chasing the delicacy yesterday as the season opened.

"I was up under the bridge [Te Rewa Rewa] last year and it snowed," a New Plymouth woman, who only wanted to be known as Joy, told the Taranaki Daily News at the Waiwhakaiho River yesterday morning.

"It's still friggin' cold, though."

Joy was on the riverbank at day-break and by 9.30am had netted herself about half a cup of whitebait.

"I wasn't even going to have a fish and I got down here and it got the better of me," she said.

She bagged 92 cups on her best opening day, but she said those days were long gone.

"It was a few years ago now, down around Stent Road, around the coast. You don't get whitebait like that now."

However, it was not all about how much you caught, she said.

"I have more fun catching them than I do eating them. It's just good to get out and about in the fresh air."

"We all know each other down here and we all have a fairly big chin wag."

New Plymouth artist Tracy Skelton said he arrived at the river about 7am.

"It was already busy, there were about eight others here," he said.

He had also caught about half a cup of whitebait but said it was more about the experience.

"You get some real characters down here."

The Conservation Department vowed to take a hard line on anyone breaking the rules.

DOC marine ranger Callum Lilley said one whitebaiter was caught fishing within 20 metres of a tide gate (where a small stream flows into a bigger stream or river) and faced a maximum fine of $5000.

"That leaves little chance for any of these whitebait to make it upstream and be part of the future breeding cycle," Mr Lilley said.

DOC would also be on the lookout for anyone moving rocks to build structures hoping to improve their catch.

"The Whitebait Fishing Regulations 1994 clearly state that no person fishing for whitebait can interfere with, alter, or modify the natural bed or banks of any river, stream, estuary, or channel."

Awakino Hotel owner Margaret Bell said many people returned to the same spot every year.

"It's really good to see some of the old faces," Ms Bell said.

While there had been no tall tales told yesterday afternoon she had no doubt that by closing time there would have been a few - "once they've got some rum and beer into them."

The Mokau butcher, Graham Putt, said he had been out first thing yesterday but did not catch anything.

"There's too much mud in the river," he said.

The season runs until November 30.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/7486959/More-tall-tales-than-whitebait-on-first-day



Class swapped for school of whitebait

The Dominion Post | Thursday, 16 August 2012

NEW SEASON: Joshua Cooper-Taepa, 11, and dad Pera Taepa spent the first day of the whitebait season chasing the delicacy at Waimea Stream near Waikanae Beach. — PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ.
NEW SEASON: Joshua Cooper-Taepa, 11, and dad Pera Taepa
spent the first day of the whitebait season chasing the
delicacy at Waimea Stream near Waikanae Beach.
 — PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ.


A FATHER AND SON whitebaiting team hope throwing back their first catch will appease the fishing gods and ensure a bountiful haul over the coming season.

Joshua Cooper-Taepa, 11, and dad Pera Taepa spent the first day of the new season chasing the delicacy at Waimea Stream near Waikanae Beach with a dozen other whitebaiters.

Despite throwing back their first catch yesterday, the pair came away with enough for two fritters, which they will cook up as an offering to Kapanui School deputy principal John Brunton, who let Joshua spend a "special day" off with his dad.

Mr Taepa and Joshua are whitebaiting novices, having taken up the nets for the first time last year, but are eager to master the art.

Mr Taepa said he was "ever hopeful" the season would be a fruitful one. But not everyone is so enthusiastic about the pastime.

Massey University freshwater scientist Mike Joy hopes Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson will ban whitebaiting outright, given declining numbers.

Failing a ban, he would like to see the threatened native species given the same protection as introduced trout. Trout fishing requires a licence and the catch cannot be sold commercially.

Four of five whitebait species were as threatened as wood pigeons, he said.

"No-one would eat a wood pigeon fritter, but whitebait have the same threat ranking."

On most of mainland New Zealand, the whitebait season runs till November 30, with fishing restricted from 5am to 8pm, or 6am to 9pm during daylight saving.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/7486694/Class-swapped-for-school-of-whitebait



Whitebaiting joy at ‘best-kept secret in all NZ’

2012 Southland whitebait season

Whitebait season runs from August to November every year

By SHIRLEY WHYTE and ALANA DIXON - The Southland Times | Thursday, 16 August 2012

ALL SET: Chris Wood and his dog Whisky are ready and waiting to drop their net at the Waiau River mouth. August 15 is the first day of the whitebaiting season. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
ALL SET: Chris Wood and his dog Whisky are ready and waiting to drop their net at the Waiau River
mouth. August 15 is the first day of the whitebaiting season. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


WHITEBAITERS are lining up on the banks of the Waiau River, near Tuatapere, to secure their possie for the whitebaiting season ahead.

Beautiful blue skies and calm conditions got the season under way, but the bait proved to be illusive.

Bev and Fraser Flint, of Invercargill, have been whitebaiting on the Waiau River for more than 30 years, buying a bach on the Bluecliff Beach Road 14 years ago, which they use constantly during the year.

“This is the best-kept secret in all of New Zealand — people just don't realise what Tuatapere has to offer.”

The couple said they don't usually catch much whitebait, they just enjoy being by the river and sea.

“The river is always different. It changes every year and you never know what it is going to be like until you arrive. We have seen Hectors dolphins, southern right whales, seals and we have even seen a penguin on the beach — we just love it,” Mr Flint said.

Tuatapere resident and Bluecliff Beach Rd bach owner Peter McDougall said he had whitebaited on the Waiau River for at least 30 years.

“This season has gotten off to a bit of a quiet start with the water being a wee bit dirty; however we are all confident that we are going to have a brilliant season from now on,” Mr McDougall said.


Nicky McKenzie empties his whitebait net on opening day at the Waiau River. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
Nicky McKenzie empties his whitebait net on opening day at the Waiau River.
 — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


From left, Vanessa Reid, Jamie McKenzie, Nicky McKenzie, Thor McKenzie and their dog Bass. Nicky McKenzie, of Tuatapere, has been whitebaiting on the Waiau River for 34 years and his sons Thor and Jamie have been whitebaiting all their lives. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
From left, Vanessa Reid, Jamie McKenzie, Nicky McKenzie, Thor McKenzie and their dog Bass.
Nicky McKenzie, of Tuatapere, has been whitebaiting on the Waiau River for 34 years and his
sons Thor and Jamie have been whitebaiting all their lives. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


Peter McDougall, of Tuatapere, is happy with his day on the Waiau River and it will be whitebait for tea. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
Peter McDougall, of Tuatapere, is happy with his day on the Waiau River and it will be
whitebait for tea. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


Trudy Anderson, of Tuatapere, on the banks of the Waiau River. Trudy has been fishing all her life and intends to camp by her whitebait spot on the Waiau. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
Trudy Anderson, of Tuatapere, on the banks of the Waiau River. Trudy has been fishing all her life
and intends to camp by her whitebait spot on the Waiau. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


Bev and Fraser Flint, of Invercargill, with their dog Ginny, have been whitebaiting on the Waiau River for 30 years. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.
Bev and Fraser Flint, of Invercargill, with their dog Ginny, have been whitebaiting on
the Waiau River for 30 years. — SHIRLEY WHYTE/Fairfax NZ.


Invercargill whitebaiter Gordon Wilson with his net on the Waihopai River. — ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ.
Invercargill whitebaiter Gordon Wilson with his net on the Waihopai River. — ROBYN EDIE/Fairfax NZ.

The Conservation Department was also pleased with the start of the season.

DOC Murihiku compliance and law enforcement ranger Kelwyn Osborn said he had been out ensuring compliance, and was pleased with the behaviour so far.

"It was pretty good, really," he said. "The majority of people are fine; they're out there fishing, and there's been a bit of bait caught, so that's good."

Nobody visited yesterday was caught breaching regulations, but a few reminders, for things such as people's gear "getting close" to exceeding 6m, had been given.

DOC would check compliance regularly throughout the season, he said. "I guess it's about being out there and enjoying the recreational side of whitebaiting ... [Whitebait] is a native species, it is a natural resource, and it's something the whole community needs to take an interest in looking after, by observing whitebaiting regulations, by creating habitat, and catching enough for a feed."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/7486532/Whitebaiting-joy-at-best-kept-secret-in-all-NZ



Hopes high for whitebait season

By DON FARMER - Wairarapa Times-Age | Thursday, 16 August 2012

SEASONAL TREAT: This early morning scene on the shores of Lake Onoke will be a familiar sight from now until the end of November as whitebaiters chase the elusive delicacy.
SEASONAL TREAT: This early morning scene on the shores of Lake Onoke will be a familiar
sight from now until the end of November as whitebaiters chase the elusive delicacy.


WAIRARAPA whitebait lovers were quick to gear up for the new season when it opened yesterday with fishers arriving with scoop nets at the mouth of Lake Onoke and set nets appearing round the shores of the lake and along rivers.

Although there were no reports indicating early catches were sizeable, morning tide times were kind with low tide around the Wairarapa coast being just after 9am and hopes high for good catches through to season's end on November 30.

Staff at the Lake Ferry Hotel reported heaps of whitebaiters arriving at low tide to try their luck and that the mouth was open allowing whitebait to infiltrate the lake.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Freshwater technical advisor Jane Goodman said staff would be out checking on how the season was progressing and that whitebaiters were obeying the rules.

It should be remembered that four out of the five species that make up whitebait are declining in numbers but said it was too early to determine how individual whitebaiting spots throughout New Zealand would fish this year.

Ms Goodman said DOC was heartened to learn some farmers were coming to the party by fencing off streams and planting along banks to protect and enhance whitebait spawning grounds.

Whitebaiters are allowed to fish from 5am until 8pm each day or from 6am until 9pm when daylight saving starts. No one is allowed to fish within 20m of a tide gate, floodgate, confluence or culvert.

In recent seasons whitebaiting in Wairarapa has been one of mixed results with most areas fishing poorly, but last season catches picked up noticeably.


http://www.times-age.co.nz/news/hopes-high-for-whitebait-season/1507083
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« Reply #257 on: August 18, 2012, 01:30:36 pm »


Whitebait in short supply — again

Whitebaiters want early start to season

By JESSICA SUTTON - Manawatu Standard | Thursday, 16 August 2012

SHOULD BE ENOUGH: Ian Reichenbach holds enough whitebait to make his reccomended whitebait toasted sandwich. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
SHOULD BE ENOUGH: Ian Reichenbach holds enough whitebait to make his reccomended
whitebait toasted sandwich. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


FOXTON's long-time whitebaiters are calling for the season to start earlier after a "slow" and uneventful first day — catching only enough for a few fritters.

But Manawatu/Rangitikei Conservation Department ranger Clint Purches says the season starts when it does to give whitebait the chance to get upstream and breed before they are gobbled up.

The three-month whitebaiting season began yesterday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck.

For 42 years Ray Shailea has been whitebaiting at Foxton and Hokio Beach. Yesterday he set up his net at 5am hoping to catch enough whitebait for dinner, but by midday he was becoming disheartened after snatching up only quarter of a pound.

"That's not enough for fritters," he said.

"It's not good so far [the season]. It's pretty slow. I think they should open it earlier."

Every year, Mr Shailea takes a holiday at the start of the whitebaiting season to ensure he doesn't miss out.

"It's a chance to get away from the wife. I also really enjoy it. We all have a few laughs. You have a good catch-up hearing what's happening in Coronation Street."


The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets
dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck.
 — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


Ian Reichenbach, who has been whitebaiting for 55 years, managed to catch a bit more than everyone else, but said the season was still a lot slower than in other years.

"I've been coming here since I was a wee lad with my father," he said. "I think everyone will get a little bit, but it's definitely not like it used to be. It [the season] may need to start earlier."

The creek in Foxton Beach has been earmarked for the habitat restoration programme as part of the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord. Work has begun in the area to help rejuvenate fish stocks in the river which would in turn help to build up whitebait supplies in the next three to five years.


The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.

The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck. — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.
The three-month whitebaiting season began on Wednesday, and despite the number of nets
dotted through the Foxton Beach's Whitebait Creek, whitebaiters weren't having much luck.
 — WARWICK SMITH/Fairfax NZ.


DOC's Mr Purches said every season varied, so it was difficult to predict what whitebait stocks would be like.

"We know that the stocks have been declining over the years but we will start to see the benefits of the work we're doing [at Foxton] in a few years' time. It will take a couple of seasons to build up the stock."

He said starting the season earlier would not be a good idea.

"We're trying to give them a little bit of a chance. That's why fishing is banned at night. So they can get upstream and breed. If we started it earlier then those fish wouldn't make it up the river."

Last year, no whitebaiters in the wider Manawatu region were prosecuted for breaking the rules, but Mr Purches said "a lot" of people were spoken to.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/manawatu-standard/news/7488874/Whitebait-in-short-supply-again



Whitebait opening haul increase

The Nelson Mail | Thursday, 16 August 2012

PLENTY FOR ALL: Opening day has brought with it a vast amount of whitebait. — MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ.
PLENTY FOR ALL: Opening day has brought with it a vast
amount of whitebait. — MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ.


ENOUGH transparent little fish for "a few patties" on opening day will keep Hope whitebaiter Rowan Holdem heading back to Rabbit Island as the season progresses.

Mr Holdem was at his spot early yesterday morning and was satisfied with the catch he left with at midday.

He said yesterday's haul was a good sign, better than he'd had at the season's beginning in other years.

"The kids will be happy."

Marley Neho, who has moved to Nelson from Timaru, was also at Rabbit Island but left empty-handed. He said he had just wanted to get out on opening day and hadn't checked the tide, but would be more particular with future visits.

"The guy that was there just before us caught some."

Yesterday he was fishing with his friend Josh Nash, from Tahunanui, and said they intended to try again today.

"This rain will help — once the mud's cleared out."

The whitebait season runs until November 30.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/7490361/Whitebait-opening-haul-increase
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« Reply #258 on: August 18, 2012, 01:30:48 pm »


Editorial: Whitebait

By BARRY CLARKE - The Canterbury Star | Friday, 17 August 2012

If you are planning on pigging out on Whitebait this season, check where it comes from or you could be in for a nasty surprise. — Photo: Stephen Moore.
If you are planning on pigging out on Whitebait this season, check where it
comes from or you could be in for a nasty surprise. — Photo: Stephen Moore.


I WON'T BE eating any whitebait this season that I'm not 100 per cent sure where it came from.

That's because of the warning out this week — the Canterbury District Health Board says whitebait from the Avon and Heathcote Rivers will be so contaminated they'll cause "months of explosive diarrhoea" if you eat them.

Bugger that!

But you'd have to be out of your mind to even dip your toe into the Avon or Heathcote, let alone try and catch the whitebait.

A shame really, because as a young lad, my mates and I would head to the Avon with our whitebait nets and try our luck.

For some reason we never got much; we always to seemed to be there on the wrong day. We'd hear great stories of shoals running and pounds being caught. But not when we were there.

Stories of great feasts of whitebait patties and money being made by selling bucket loads to local fish and chip shops. We always dipped out on both accounts.


Whitebait Season Opening Ceremony.

The only memorable thing I remember from my relatively short and unsuccessful whitebaiting days was almost getting sucked into a drain on the Avon.

My mate Mike and I had set our net across the drain that runs underneath the entrance to the rowing clubs at Kerrs Reach.

It wasn't allowed but we hadn't been getting any whitebait. We figured when the whitebait came through the drain the only place for them to go was into our net. We just had to be quick before the rangers, who patrolled the river banks, came by.

But as the tide came in, the water funnelled towards both entrances to the drain, and fairly quickly.

It caught us by surprise. The net began to twist and turn under the pressure and it was obvious it was going to disappear into the drain if we didn't grab it.

Stupidly, and without thinking we went into the river to save the net.

I can still remember the force of the chest deep water push us into the drain's concrete support. From the angle I could see inside the drain and it was filling fast from both ends.

It didn't take a rocket scientist to work out that if we went into that drain there was no way we were coming out the other end.

I don't recall how, but we got out of the river and also salvaged the net. And here's another crazy whitebaiting yarn.

Last week we were told by one of the city's civic authorities the Avon and Heathcote Rivers were clear and okay to whitebait.

We printed that in our suburban publications — we've had concerned calls ever since.

The day after, the warning from the health board came out saying silt in the rivers was badly contaminated which was infecting whitebait making them dangerous to eat. It could cause "explosive diarrhoea for months."

I know which advice I'm taking!


http://www.starcanterbury.co.nz/news/editor-whitebait/1508682



Slim pickings for whitebaiters

By PENNY WARDLE - The Marlborough Express | Friday, 17 August 2012

OPENING DAY: Kalvin Robinson of Blenheim takes a break from whitebaiting, early on Wednesday morning. Behind him is fellow whitebaiter Boofy Pihema of Tuamarina. — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.
OPENING DAY: Kalvin Robinson of Blenheim takes a break from whitebaiting, early on
Wednesday morning. Behind him is fellow whitebaiter Boofy Pihema of Tuamarina.
 — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.


A ROUGH SEA spilling into the Wairau Diversion in Marshlands near Blenheim meant slim pickings for whitebaiters at the opening of the season yesterday morning.

Boofy Pihema of Tuamarina was out in the tide with his scoop-net at 7am. Despite picking up only two or three whitebait per scoop, he was confident the season would improve in a couple of weeks when the weather was warmer.

He first went whitebaiting when he was about 10, with his mother in the Wairau River behind their home, Mr Pihema said. This season he planned to take his five-year-old son Trent along, when his mother and sisters were there to keep an eye on him.

Mr Pihema was looking forward to sharing his catch with relatives, especially an uncle who could no longer get down to the river.

Concerned for the survival of the inanga whitebait species caught in Marlborough, he tried not to be greedy, Mr Pihema said. However, he respected the right of people who made a living from whitebait to catch commercial quantities.


OPENING DAY: Kalvin Robinson fishes for whitebait at the mouth of the Wairau Diversion River. — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.
OPENING DAY: Kalvin Robinson fishes for whitebait
at the mouth of the Wairau Diversion River.
 — EMMA ALLEN/The Marlborough Express.


Yesterday morning there were only a few motor-homes and buses parked alongside the diversion, their owners reluctant to put sock-nets out in case they were damaged by the rolling waves. At the peak of the season he had counted 28 vehicles in the area, Mr Pihema said.

Yesterday morning Marlborough District Council deputy reserves ranger Kevin Hawkins was checking that motor-homes had permits to camp there during the whitebaiting season. This meant meeting many conditions including having three days sewage storage on board.

Frank Best of Blenheim, who slept the night in his house-bus, said this was the first time in four or five years of whitebaiting he had not put his net out on opening day.

"I'll go back to town and do something in my garden," he said.

All his catch went to family and friends, Mr Best said. He did not sell whitebait and would have no problem if rules were changed to stop people selling these native fish.

The whitebaiting season runs from August 15 until November 30.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/marlborough-express/news/7495816/Slim-pickings-for-whitebaiters
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« Reply #259 on: August 19, 2012, 10:00:05 pm »


Wait for whitebait worth the effort

By KATEE SHANKS - Rotorua Daily Post | Saturday, 18 August 2012

A DAY BESIDE THE RIVER: Jim Allan is happy spending his days on the bank of the Rangitaiki River in search of whitebait. — LANI HEPI/Rotorua Daily Post.
A DAY BESIDE THE RIVER: Jim Allan is happy
spending his days on the bank of the
Rangitaiki River in search of whitebait.
 — LANI HEPI/Rotorua Daily Post.


ROTORUA's Jim and Susan Allan packed their lunch and headed to the Eastern Bay in search of whitebait.

The couple had been fishing from the Rangitaiki River near Thornton for only an hour yesterday when The Daily Post caught up with them.

"He's been at it for about an hour and I think there's one whitebait in the bucket," Mrs Allan said of her husband.

Whitebait season officially opened on Wednesday with early reports from anglers around the Bay saying the season is already miles better than the last.

Reports of bucket-size catches were coming in from the Tarawera River and the Rangitaiki River mouth, although the word was the anglers had been on the water at 5am in search of the delicacy.

A few years ago the Allans made the move to Rotorua from the South Island.

"I was a salmon fisherman down south but, not long after we moved here, I tried to buy some whitebait from a chap in Kawerau," Mr Allan said.

"He wouldn't sell me any of his fresh whitebait so I went and bought myself a net."

The Allans were happy to pack the day's essentials into their campervan to catch whitebait.

"As long as he cleans it, prepares it and then cooks it, I'm happy to eat it," Mrs Allan said with a laugh.

The season runs from August 15 to November 30.


http://www.rotoruadailypost.co.nz/news/wait-for-whitebait-worth-the-effort/1510085
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« Reply #260 on: August 27, 2012, 07:29:16 pm »


Tucking into nature's best

By DON FARMER - Wairarapa Times-Age | Wednesday, 22 August 2012

A whitebaiter checks his nets. — Photo: Glenn Taylor.
A whitebaiter checks his nets. — Photo: Glenn Taylor.

WHITEBAIT SEASON is upon us again and this year I have vowed to heed the words of General Douglas MacArthur: "I shall return" to the shores of Lake Onoke in Wairarapa and fish for what is surely one of the world's most tasty morsels.

For the past couple of years I have failed to make time for whitebaiting and it has rankled. There are few experiences as pleasing on the palate as a good feed of whitebait, apart from paua and crayfish perhaps, and yet some people don't like them.

I think I know why, but readers may have other views. It seems to me few people, outside the hardy souls who turn up year on year to chase the 'bait, know how best to prepare them for eating, and yet it is so simple.

Whitebait needs very little preparing to be super tasty. My favourite way is simply to rub a little butter or oil into the frypan and tip them in.

Give them a minute of two and tip them out on to a nice, thick slice of toast, sprinkle on a little salt and get stuck in.

What could be more simple than that?

If you must make them into fritters then for goodness sake let them be whitebait fritters, not a heap of flour saturated with egg with the odd little whitebait peeping out from within. You may as well eat a scone.

Catching bait is one of the best ways of unwinding. If you are at the mouth of Lake Onoke scooping for them then it can be hard work, but if the 'bait are running you won't even notice the effort. Setting nets on the lake or river edges is much more leisurely and my wife and I often take that option and go well prepared for a day out. We fill the thermos, pack the coffee sachets, pre-cook a few "bangers", toss in a loaf of bread and away.

When you get settled at your spot — and providing fire bans are not in force — gather up a bit of driftwood and light a fire on the beach then roll a few potatoes into the embers to cook slowly. You will never taste a better spud.

Times like whitebaiting season are what makes life special in rural New Zealand and sets us apart from those from the "big smoke" who may well have expensive restaurants for dining out and wall-to-wall fast food outlets but many have never had the privilege of sitting at lake's edge tucking into nature's best, for free.

Eat ya heart out.


http://www.times-age.co.nz/news/tucking-into-natures-best/1514204
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« Reply #261 on: August 27, 2012, 07:29:28 pm »


Hokitika River danger ‘worst in memory’

By CHERYL RILEY - The Greymouth Star | Thursday, 23 August 2012

TAKE CARE: Maritime safe boating adviser, Max Dowell.
TAKE CARE: Maritime safe boating adviser, Max Dowell.

WITH THE West Coast whitebait season just around the corner, anyone intending to fish the Hokitika River mouth is warned the conditions are the most dangerous of maritime safe boating adviser Max Dowell’s experience.

“Last year was bad enough but this year it is extremely dangerous — the worst in living memory,” Mr Dowell said.

All whitebaiters, and especially those fishing the Hokitika River mouth, were advised to wear a lifejacket.

“For $100 you can have a lightweight, comfortable lifejacket — the cheapest life insurance you can buy.”

He suggested whitebaiters fishing at the river mouth should have eyes in the back of their heads and be on constant alert for waves washing over the bar at high tide and in big seas.

The long sand bar driving towards the south was moving and dangerous, and a dividing channel in the middle was deep and the current was swift. Fishing on the island south of the channel was particularly dangerous.

In Canterbury, it was common practice to whitebait in the waves, and he feared for fishermen from the east coast fishing in the waves at Hokitika, unsuspecting of the strong surges of the Tasman Sea and the deep water at the river mouth.

The Hokitika beach was deep and starved for gravel since the river was pushing north below the Hokitika Bridge and cutting away the island, Mr Dowell said.

Meanwhile, Department of Conservation compliance officers are concerned about the age old problem of whitebaiters’ rubbish.

“Every year we ask whitebaiters not to leave rubbish behind,” compliance officer Ted Brennan said.

“Not only is it unsightly, but bits of iron and wood with nails end up on the beach. Plastic bags wash out to sea, where they persist for a long time and pose a danger to marine mammals.”

Mr Brennan said it was sheer laziness on the part of whitebaiters.

“After all they are happy to cart the stuff onto the river and just too lazy to cart it away again. “Our message to whitebaiters is to clean up after yourselves — it is our backyard as well as yours.”


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« Reply #262 on: August 27, 2012, 07:29:38 pm »


Calls to outlaw sale of whitebait

“It would allow them to breed more.”

By MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News | Monday, 27 August 2012

FAMILY AFFAIR: Ruby Collins, 7, her dad Brendan, “Grandpa”, and brother Oscar, 5, joined dozens of others on the banks of New Plymouth Waiwhakaiho in their hunt for whitebait.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Ruby Collins, 7, her dad Brendan, “Grandpa”, and brother Oscar, 5, joined dozens
of others on the banks of New Plymouth Waiwhakaiho in their hunt for whitebait.


ANY MOVES to restrict whitebait catches should start by outlawing the selling of the native fish, recreational fishers say.

New Plymouth's Kerry Fleming has spent 40 years chasing the elusive creatures at Waiwhakaiho River and said it had not got any easier, nor more difficult, to catch enough for a fritter or two.

"There are enough regulations already."

"I just think you shouldn't be able to sell it," he said. "It would allow them to breed more in the bigger rivers."

"At least some of their habitat would be better for them," he said.

Calls are growing for tougher regulations governing whitebaiting, particularly the sale of them.

Department of Conservation river ranger Chris Annandale claims in the Waikato Times a lot of money changes hands during the whitebait season.

He knows of someone who allegedly sold $30,000 of whitebait, tax free, while collecting a sickness benefit.

Whitebait are the juveniles of five native species, including some that are threatened. There are no restrictions on how many whitebait a person can catch or possess and unlike every other native fish are not covered by the quota system.

The whitebait season in most of the country is open between August 15 and November 30, with fishing permitted between 5am and 8pm.

New Plymouth's John Schumacher said the quantities caught in most Taranaki rivers meant restrictions on amounts were not required.

"It's like with the paua."

"They don't grow very big and people around here don't get huge amounts of whitebait," he said.

Making whitebaiting illegal in alternate seasons would help rebuild the stocks but enough got up the river before and after the season that such restrictions were not necessarily needed.

Teenage whitebaiter Matt Smith was another who believed the sale of whitebait should be stopped.

"Because they are native fish aren't they," he said.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/7552139/Calls-to-outlaw-sale-of-whitebait



Whitebaiters passing time on the river

By MATT BOWEN - Waikato Times | Monday, 27 August 2012

WAITING GAME: Baiter Dean Naysmith hopes his net brings up a catch of whitebait from the lower Waikato River. — BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ.
WAITING GAME: Baiter Dean Naysmith hopes his net brings up a catch of whitebait from
the lower Waikato River. — BRUCE MERCER/Fairfax NZ.


IT'S A lousy winter morning on the lower Waikato River and the bait are more brown than white.

The water's thick with runoff after weeks of relentless rain. Giant black clouds roll in from the northwest, but under the thunder and rain 12 people are chasing tender juvenile freshwater fish on the sixth day of the whitebait season.

They all love the taste. Some give it to friends and family. Others sell it to make a buck. They would all like to eat more, to sell more or give more away, but there's just not as much around as there used to be.

Joshua Doughty, 17, should be at school in Tuakau but has the day off. He'll be lucky to get a thing on the banks of a muddy reserve a few hundred metres north of Tuakau Bridge.

By early afternoon he's got a fritter's worth. Joshua usually sells it — whitebait are one of a handful of native species that can be legally harvested and sold. They'll fetch between $55 and $65 a kilogram, but this batch is going to his grandfather.

Were Joshua cooking, he'd use his old man's recipe. "You get a couple of eggs, crack them in a bowl, add milk, whisk it until it's fluffy then add salt and pepper and a decent amount of whitebait and cook it in butter."

Downstream, Bernard Rawiri and his grandson Hoani Tapara are about to flee their stand as the thunder looms. They've had no luck so far. It's a bit early in the season and the water's too dirty. "But you just never know, aye," Mr Rawiri says. "You've got to be here all the time."

He's got a week off and will be down every day waiting for the sky, then the water, to clear and the net to fill. He's still waiting to use his simple recipe. "Good old eggs, bro. Just cook them in eggs, the old fritter, yolk and all. Duck eggs are the best, aye."

Dean Naysmith looks comfortable. His stand backs into trees near the "windies" section of the river. The stand is dry and cosy — the rain patters on the corrugated walls and roof. The radio's quiet, too, but the tattered Zane Grey cowboy novel is getting thumbed for the 11th time.

"The good guy always gets the woman in the end — that's the main thing," he says.

The truck driver took 10 days off work but the weather's been poor. Most of his catch has been glass eels, yet there's enough for a solid whitebait fritter.

In terms of regulating the fishery, he says most baiters are pretty strict with each other these days. If someone's seen poaching or breaking the rules, they'll get a tap on the shoulder. "It's not a joke anymore," he says. "I think everyone's realised now, that people take what they're allowed. In the old days, people didn't take much notice. They thought it was going to be here forever but in our lifetime the numbers are down."

When luck graces his net, he mixes one egg per pound of whitebait and the whole thing goes in the fry pan — more pancake than fritter.

Conservation Department river rangers Chris Annandale and Eric Pene are also out, checking that baiters abide by the rules. Most have time on their hands — beneficiaries, retired couples, the semi-retired. And a lot of money changes hands. Mr Annandale knows one who allegedly sold $30,000 of whitebait, tax free, while collecting a sickness benefit. Regulations should change, he reckons, but leaves it there.

Stu Muir is freer with his thoughts. He runs a dairy farm up the Aka Aka and has been restoring whitebait breeding grounds for years. The Waikato River Authority recently pumped $10,500 into his latest project — it's part of his effort to reverse the fishery's steady decline.

In the 1930s, 130 tonnes were caught, now it's about 10 tonnes. Mr Muir isn't against the sale of whitebait and he doesn't want to see the fishery commercialised in an effort to save it because it would then turn into a rich person's dish.

His farm runs 500 head of cattle that don't get near 5km of tidal creek bank. Waterways are fenced off, replanted with natives and he keeps on top of weeds and pests. "Not enough farms along here fence off their streams," he says. "But Fonterra's going to make them, so that's good."

If the fishery gets into a diabolical state, licensing won't fix it. "They'd have to stop it as a commercial gain, but unless you've protected the habitat, that's a waste of time too. The main thing is protecting the environment."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/7551946/Whitebaiters-passing-time-on-the-river
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« Reply #263 on: September 01, 2012, 05:48:36 pm »


Gearing up for whitebait season

By LAURA MILLS of The Greymouth Star | Friday, 31 August 2012

ANTICIPATION: A whitebaiter checks his net to see if he has caught enough of the elusive delicacy for that night's dinner. — Photo: Alan Gibson.
ANTICIPATION: A whitebaiter checks his net to see if he has caught enough
of the elusive delicacy for that night's dinner. — Photo: Alan Gibson.


GREYMOUTH could be the place to be when the West Coast whitebait season opens tomorrow — though temptation has already proved too much for a few people.

Pre-season sightings of whitebait are few and far between, despite the number of fishermen starting to amass on the riverbanks, but Greymouth is a different story.

"The rivers are very, very low," Department of Conservation Greymouth ranger Brad Edwards said.

"About three weeks ago, there was quite a lot of 'bait around."

However, since the fresh last week there had been no reported sightings.

He said a "couple" of early starters had been caught on the Grey River. He did not reveal where exactly they were found, but said they were "trying to keep to themselves".

In Hokitika, DOC ranger Ted Brennan said a lot of people were on the riverbanks, and a little whitebait seen heading upstream.

"There's been bits and pieces about, the odd shoal."

After reports of blocked creeks, the fresh seemed to have opened up many of them.

No one had been caught out fishing early in the Hokitika area. "They are either keeping well out of sight, or behaving themselves."

Things are also quiet in South Westland — perhaps a little too quiet.

DOC community relations manager Cornelia Vervoorn, of Fox Glacier, said very little 'bait seemed to be about.

"There have been a couple of smaller shoals in the Haast area, but nothing up here, which is quite unusual."

Again, pre-season compliance was good.

Haast whitebait buyer Moana Kerr from the Curly Tree Whitebait Company said they had yet to see any whitebait in their river, the Waita.

For the start of season, they will be paying $50 a kilogram, although once the supply ramps up the price will drop.

In Westport, no pre-season fishing activity was observed, or even reported from the public, which was "most unusual," DOC ranger Martin Abel said.

During the past week, staff had noticed several illegal stands built on the Buller River. The whitebait fishing regulations did not stop people building a structure, but made it illegal to fish from one.

"If DOC rangers come across someone fishing from an illegal stand they will ask them to stop fishing and take their details. Non-compliance or repeat offending may result in gear being seized and prosecution."

Whitebaiters had become quite slack in leaving their gear in the water after they had finished fishing.

He also asked people to help protect penguins and weka by either leaving their dogs at home or having them tied up on the riverbank.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10830888
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« Reply #264 on: September 06, 2012, 12:29:19 am »


Whitebaiters’ patience pays slim rewards

By TUI BROMLEY - The Greymouth Star | Monday, 03 September 2012

SLIM PICKINGS: Opening day of the West Coast whitebait season.
SLIM PICKINGS: Opening day of the West Coast whitebait season.

IT WAS slow going for whitebaiters who lined West Coast riverbanks on Saturday trying to catch the first ‘feed’ of the new season.

One veteran fisherman from Cobden said his patience was rewarded with a pound and a half of fresh bait from the Grey River, but “it took me two tides to get them”.

Elsewhere, people were content with the odd cupful, and shoals were measured in dozens of bait, not pounds.

Wallace Adamson, of Jacobs River, said South Westland rivers had been barren of bait pre-season and he did not even bother dipping his net on opening day.

“The signs were not good all through July. Usually, there are reports of big shoals sneaking up the river from mid-July and there are generally quite a few bait around on opening day, but there has been no sign of them this year.”

Mr Adamson said heavy rain over the past couple of days would rule out fishing for a few days, but would also be doing the whitebaiters a favour by creating floods to clean out the blocked river mouths.

Haast policeman, constable Rob Manera, said the dearth of pre-season whitebait had delayed the annual of influx of “townies”.

“There’s a few newcomers about but I notice that the riverbank camps are still empty. When there have been reports of big shoals pre-season those camps are almost full from day one,” Mr Manera said.

“They really only got in one day of fishing down here before the weather turned, and there are good floods in all the rivers now so it will be at least a day or two before the rivers settle down.”

Department of Conservation Greymouth ranger Brad Edwards said all three main rivers in the area — the Grey, New and Taramakau — had more fishermen than bait, some getting enough for a pattie but little more.

“There were lots of fishers about but there’s always a rush of early enthusiasm. It’s a long dry run up to the start of the season.”


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« Reply #265 on: September 06, 2012, 12:29:30 am »


Seizure may have caused whitebaiter drowning

The Greymouth Star | Wednesday, 05 September 2012

CORONER Richard McElrea has ruled that an epileptic seizure probably caused Westport woman Adrienne Dusseldorp to fall into the Waimangaroa River and drown last whitebait season.

The 49-year-old had been fishing near the river mouth on September 10, 2011.

She had been using a set net, which required her to wade knee-deep into the water to secure it.

A fellow whitebaiter observed her remove her trousers before wading into the water as the turning tide began to push big surges up the river. She appeared to be fiddling with her screen.

The witness’s attention was turned elsewhere and when he looked back Ms Dusseldorp had disappeared, but he assumed that she had just returned to the riverbank.

Next thing, he saw was two legs sticking out of the river some 20m away. Other whitebaiters dragged Ms Dusseldorp to shore and administered CPR until emergency services arrived, but they could not revive her.

The river was 50cm deep at her net and 2m deep in the middle.

Mr McElrea said Ms Dusseldorp had a background of epilepsy and there was no evidence of her struggling to get to shore.

“There are two possible reasons for her drowning,” Mr McElrea said.

“She may have been overcome by the forces of the river, causing her to become immersed. She may have suffered a medical event, which if it occurred was likely to be an epileptic seizure resulting in her immersion. On the balance of probabilities I find the latter to be more likely.”


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« Reply #266 on: September 06, 2012, 12:29:40 am »


Whitebait proving to be shy little critters

By SUSAN SANDYS - Ashburton Guardian | Wednesday, 05 September 2012

Hakatere whitebaiter Peter Kiddey wishes it was one pound of the delicious delicacy, instead of just one fish. — Photo: Kirsty Graham.
Hakatere whitebaiter Peter Kiddey wishes it was one pound of the delicious
delicacy, instead of just one fish. — Photo: Kirsty Graham.


WHITEBAIT was measured by individual fish caught, not by the pounds, at the mouth of the Ashburton River yesterday.

Whitebaiters say it could take another month or so for the season, which started on August 15, to begin its peak.

In the meantime it is a case of Murphy's Law for some trying their luck.

Hakatere Huts resident Peter Kiddey, 69, was out for his first day of the season yesterday, on the south side of the river mouth.

It looked like those on the opposite side were netting more of the small fish, but he was staying put instead of driving all the way to the State Highway One bridge to get to the other side.

By mid afternoon he had caught about one dozen fish, nowhere near his peak for last season of five pounds on one day.

"They usually get them when you are not here," he joked.

"You come down and they say you should have been here yesterday."


Whitebaiters on the south side of the mouth of the Ashburton River seemed to be having more luck than those on the north side yesterday. — Photo: Kirsty Graham.
Whitebaiters on the south side of the mouth of the Ashburton River seemed
to be having more luck than those on the north side yesterday.
 — Photo: Kirsty Graham.


Friend and fellow hut resident Brent Proffitt said he went out on his first day for the season on Monday.

At first he had thought he had caught about 20 of the fish, but a count up showed it was actually 50.

His best catch last year was about six pounds on one morning in late October.

He wasn't going to bother going out again until about September 28, "two days before the full moon".

Whitebait came in with the rising tide, and a full moon caused stronger tides.

Mr Kiddey and Mr Proffitt agreed that when the whitebait did run, they would not be telling many people.

Last year, towards the end of October when there were some good catches, all of a sudden cars flooded the Hakatere carpark as people flocked to try their luck.

"They all seem to get wind of it."


http://www.ashburtonguardian.co.nz/news/todays-news/8439-whitebait-proving-to-be-shy-little-critters.html
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« Reply #267 on: September 09, 2012, 03:14:19 pm »


Whitebait come to those who wait

By NIGEL BENSON - Otago Daily Times | Saturday, 08 September 2012

WAITING: Andy Coburn, of Dunedin, demonstrates his whitebaiting technique at Henley. — Photo: Gerard O'Brien.
WAITING: Andy Coburn, of Dunedin, demonstrates his whitebaiting technique at Henley. — Photo: Gerard O'Brien.

THERE IS a secret to catching whitebait.

"Perseverance," veteran Dunedin whitebaiter Andy Coburn said with a grin this week.

"There's plenty of whitebait coming up the river. You've just got to be here on the day. It's a great feeling when you get a good lift. You can get around 500g on a good day.

Mr Coburn has been chasing the elusive little fish on the Taieri River at Henley since the 1950s.

"I've been whitebaiting here since I was a primary school lad, more than 60 years ago," he said.

"Forty years ago, there wasn't a soul down here. Now, there's a real community of whitebaiters. Lots of retired guys go whitebaiting now. It's a great way to spend your time."

"I always bring my caravan down the day before opening day. It's very relaxing sitting on the riverbank looking at the whitebait. You get lots of native birds around, like tuis, wood pigeons and kingfishers. And I enjoy swapping yarns with other whitebaiters and catching whitebait for my family."

Mr Coburn also shared his special recipe for whitebait.

"Mix four eggs with a tablespoon of flour and give it a good stir up. Add a wee bit of milk if you need it and then add your whitebait. It comes out like a cake. Beautiful."

The whitebait season runs until November 30.


http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/225019/whitebait-come-those-who-wait
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« Reply #268 on: September 29, 2012, 06:30:54 pm »


Excellent catches keep whitebaiters happy

Hauls of up to 31kg reported

By BONNIE STRAWBRIDGE - The Nelson Mail | Thursday, 20 September 2012

PERFECT SPOT: Clive Hodder whitebaiting on the Maitai River near Riverside. — MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ.
PERFECT SPOT: Clive Hodder whitebaiting on the Maitai River near Riverside. — MARION VAN DIJK/Fairfax NZ.

WHITEBAIT are flowing well in Nelson and Tasman with happy fishers reporting bucketloads of the delicacy.

Conservation Department ranger Simon Bayly confirmed the whitebait were just starting to run but part of fishing etiquette was not to divulge your fishing patch.

"I heard of a catch of five pounds [2.2 kilograms] recently," he said. "But I cannot say where."

Mr Bayly said whitebait had not been running up until now because of the flooding. "They have been stuck out in the bay. As soon as the fresh water flows in, there will be more."

A Nelson Mail reader has reported whitebait running "really well in Motueka".

The woman who did not want to be named because "whitebaiters don't like to share the love", said in the Motueka area on Tuesday many whitebaiters had got catches of 8kg to 13kg and "one lucky bugger" got 31kg.

She said the whitebait were also flowing yesterday, with half and full buckets reported.

On Tuesday in a space of barely 100 metres between the Collingwood St Bridge and the Riverside footbridge, four hopeful whitebaiters sat along the banks of the Maitai River.

With one job completed already that morning, plumber Clive Hodder felt justified in casting his net and was down at the river by 9am.

He was set up with a chair, radio, book, thermos flask and even had dog Wilbur with him. But he had not had any time to read his book.

The whitebait were flowing.

"A good couple of shoals gets you on your feet," he said. It was the first time he had been to the spot this season, but with the amount of whitebait in his bucket, he would likely return. Just 20m down along the bank, Terry Wiechern who has been whitebaiting for several years had his set-net in the water.

He was pleased there were no ships in on the day which meant he would have been working down at the waterfront.

He usually fishes out at Appleby but was at the Maitai as the Appleby River was still in flood.

"People go far and wide to catch the little critters," he said.

While the Maitai was still flowing fast, he said the fish swim closer to the banks and that may have accounted for the half cup he had caught in an hour.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/news/7706602/Excellent-catches-keep-whitebaiters-happy
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« Reply #269 on: September 29, 2012, 06:32:46 pm »


Hard to relive past taste sensations

By MATT RILKOFF - Taranaki Daily News | Saturday, 22 September 2012

IT was only ever a single kernel of hope. A single kernel on a single cob in a field of thousands and thousands. But it was enough and with whitebait you only need a thimble full. So when I learned that frozen whitebait could be bought for $6.50 a pack in the supermarket, small as it was, the hope was enough to get me just a little bit excited.

Me and whitebait go a long way back. I used to fish for them on the banks of the Waitara River with my grandfather. Later, when I was older, I used the same net to catch the slippery fingerlings in the dubious waters of the Waimoku Stream behind the beach shop in Oakura.

Back in the 1990s I would syphon a few off from the batch I was supposed to be frying up and handing out at Monteith's beer tasting events and more recently my sister's two-year stint in Hokitika gave me infrequent but memorable access to the delicacy.

But in all my life I had never bought whitebait and that was mostly because they cost $120 a kilogram and reporters earn only slightly more than dish rag. But $6.50 for a 250 gram pack, well, I could swing that easy. So into my basket they went and though I consequently found out they weren't New Zealand whitebait, I decided it was still worth a shot.

It wasn't the first time I had opted for economy over expense. In fact, that is how I shop. You won't see me buying fillet steak at $40kg when with a bit of technique and know-how the humble blade steak knocks you down with meaty flavour.

Give me offal any day, show me the bacon ends and I'll buy them and I'm happier with a lamb knuckle than the flashier shank.

I would like to think it was before or after but it was actually while I ate one of those slow braised lamb knuckles with my girlfriend last week that I pitched the idea of how we would eat the whitebait. "How's about this," I said half-way through a mouthful of meat. "We'll fritter them."

She looked at me as you might look at a beloved pet that had developed an unfortunate urinary control problem but I was used to that and carried right on.

"We'll get some white bread," I said stuffing a whip of potato mash into my mouth. "We'll make some coleslaw," I said chewing on a french bean. "And some mayonnaise."

Which made it all sound so simple even though I only explained half of it. You see, the coleslaw wouldn't just be run-of-the-mill coleslaw. It would have flat leaf parsley and red onion and sesame seeds. And I'd be adding more lemon juice than usual to the mayonnaise as I was expecting the whitebait to be a bit salty and the white bread, well, that had to be Quality Bakers sandwich slice. Not because it was the best white bread in town because it wasn't. Rather, it added a further element of Kiwi culture and nostalgia to the already classic menu.

It was complicated stuff that she had no stomach to listen to, which is why I kept it to myself as you generally have to do in New Zealand.

Other countries in which I have travelled have a much greater appetite for food talk and truly appreciate that food, not money, clothes or the type of car you drive, is the only material thing that really matters. I'm not ashamed to say it. The whole reason I spent six weeks tripping around China was for the food.

I passed by the crushing tourist traps, grimaced through the often painful bus trips, the crowds and the chaos and made great effort to ignore the choking smog of its cities. I was there for the steam buns, the handmade noodles, the braised frog, stewed intestine, whole cooked carp and morsels I can not even describe.

I took photos of every meal I ate and I quickly found the best way to break down the language barrier with the Chinese people I met was to show them these pictures of their country's food. After that everything was easy, as it is between kindred spirits.

The day after the lamb knuckles we weren't hungry for dinner until half way through the All Blacks game against South Africa. By the time I had cooked the meticulously planned fritters and brought them to the TV room with the bread and coleslaw and an extra helping of mayonnaise the game had started again. It was nerve-wrecking stuff. "What do you think," I asked my girlfriend.

"They're all right. Not great," she said with her usual honesty. "What did they cost again?"

Just $6.50 I said, and though that didn't make them taste any better it did make the disappointment, the crushing of that small delicate kernel, a little less severe.


http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/opinion/7716422/Hard-to-relive-past-taste-sensations
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« Reply #270 on: September 29, 2012, 06:33:15 pm »


The patient wait for whitebait run

By MARINO HARKER-SMITH - The Gisborne Herald | Tuesday, 25 September 2012

TINY DELICACY: Wairoa whitebait fisherman Doug Waugh re-sets his net in the shallows of the Wairoa River mouth. — Photo: MARINO Harker-Smith.
TINY DELICACY: Wairoa whitebait fisherman Doug
Waugh re-sets his net in the shallows of the Wairoa
River mouth. — Photo: Marino Harker-Smith.


SOME people are getting a little, others are getting a lot and almost everybody wants their fix.

A fix of whitebait.

The whitebait fishing season has been under way for just over a month now and continues until November 30.

Wairoa whitebaiter Doug Waugh has been a keen whitebaiter for 40-odd years and still sets his net at the stand in the shallows near the river mouth that he built with his boys when they were young.

There was “nothing startling” about the season so far, although he did manage to net enough of the tiny delicacy for a fritter or two every other day, he said.

The whitebait had been “very scarce” for him but further up the river and in the deeper water, people were getting some “reasonable catches”.

“I would have spent 20 hours on the river for each pint I caught,” said Mr Waugh.

He had heard they were doing well at Te Arai River near Manutuke.

Department of Conservation (DOC) Gisborne-Whakatane Area biodiversity programme manager John Lucas said Hicks Bay waterways were having some reasonable catches but it was still pretty quiet around Gisborne rivers and streams.

Mr Lucas said it was still early. The Gisborne season did not usually pick up until about October, which was probably due to the rivers clearing up and some better runs as the season progressed.

“Whitebait run when they want to run,” he said.

DOC says whitebait species are in decline, mainly due to a lack of clean, healthy rivers and streams for the adult fish.

But planting and fencing stream edges could help lead to better whitebaiting in future years, as would following the fishing rules and net regulations which are available on the DOC website.


http://www.gisborneherald.co.nz/article/?type=article&id=29558
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« Reply #271 on: September 29, 2012, 06:33:28 pm »


Whitebaiters content to wait

By ALASTAIR PAULIN - The Motueka Leader | Friday, 28 September 2012

STILL WAITING: Alanah Trewavas had four whitebait in her bucket. — Photo: ALASTAIR PAULIN.
STILL WAITING: Alanah Trewavas
had four whitebait in her bucket.
 — Photo: ALASTAIR PAULIN.


LOOKING like a shepherd at dog trials, Ricky Fowler crept up on his whitebait net, gently poking the river bed with a pair of walking sticks.

He was trying to flush any stray whitebait towards his net but when he checked it, there were just half a dozen of the translucent delicacies wriggling in the bottom. Into the bucket they went, joining about a quarter pound of their species.

It was early morning last Friday and Ricky was one of about 60 whitebaiters who had flocked to the Motueka River after word got around that the whitebait were running.

Ricky had been at the mouth of the river the day before, one of about 20 trying their luck there, and had come home with 4½lb. Before that he had been in Golden Bay, spending a week whitebaiting the Anatori and the Patarau.

The irony of a deep-sea fisherman spending his trip off fishing was not lost on him but he was loving it.

Just upriver from him Graham Boyes was out for his first day of the season.

"Someone said there was a bit around so I thought, I’ll take a day off work and see what happens," he said.

The Motueka man has been whitebaiting most of his life and said the best day he ever had was two years ago in the Moutere, when he got about 7lb.

"If I can get a feed and a couple in the freezer, I’m happy."

Next to him was Alanah Trewavas, who had just four whitebait in her bucket. But she was happy too, since the 1½lb she caught the day before was enough for her first feed of the season and a few cold patties to sustain her the next day on the river. She was going to head over to Golden Bay to try her luck on the Patarau or the Aorere.

She may have found it tough to find a spot to put her net in though, as her neighbour on the Motueka River, Brent Johnson, said he had seen 70 cars parked at the Takaka River last Thursday.

Ricky said the run of earlier in the week was tailing off. He estimated that it was a quarter of what it had been on Tuesday and Wednesday, when a Nelson Mail reader reported whitebait running "really well in Motueka".

The woman who did not want to be named because "whitebaiters don’t like to share the love", said that on Tuesday many whitebaiters had got catches of 18-30lb and "one lucky bugger" got 70lb.

Conservation Department ranger Simon Bayly said  the run was just starting but etiquette was not to divulge your fishing patch.

"I heard of a catch of 5 pounds recently,’’ he said. ‘‘But I cannot say where."

He said whitebait had not been running up until now because of the flooding.

"They have been stuck out in the Bay. As soon as the fresh water flows in, there will be more."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/communities/7742479/Whitebaiters-content-to-wait
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« Reply #272 on: October 05, 2012, 01:13:03 am »


Christchurch whitebaiters risk disease, DHB warns

By NICOLE MATHEWSON - The Press | Monday, 01 September 2012

TASTY CATCH: Whitebaiter Trevor Spriggs is ignoring a health warning on taking bait from the Heathcote River. He says Christchurch’s whitebait is safe to eat as long as people follow proper hygiene practices. — JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ.
TASTY CATCH: Whitebaiter Trevor Spriggs is ignoring a
health warning on taking bait from the Heathcote River.
He says Christchurch’s whitebait is safe to eat as long
as people follow proper hygiene practices.
 — JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Fairfax NZ.


WHITEBAITERS are being warned against fishing in Christchurch waterways after dangerously high levels of E. coli were found in samples taken from the Heathcote River.

However, a local whitebaiter argues the delicacy is fine to eat as long as people follow good hygiene practices.

The Canterbury District Health Board released a statement in August advising people not to fish in the city's sewage-contaminated rivers, but some have ignored the warning.

Board medical officer of health Alistair Humphrey said he recently tested samples taken from two whitebaiting "die-hards" who claimed there was no problem with fishing in the Heathcote River.

The samples were found to be four times over the level deemed safe for recreational use. One 100ml sample showed 2400 faecal coliforms. A sample that exceeded 550 coliforms would constitute a "red alert" for recreational water, Humphrey said.

Most ill-health effects from such contamination were considered minor, but more serious diseases were possible, including hepatitis A, giardia and salmonella, which could cause liver and kidney failure.

The whitebaiters were "quite contrite" about the situation once they heard the results, Humphrey said.

"They didn't realise it was that bad."

He advised people to avoid consuming whitebait from the city's waterways, as even if the fish was rinsed, contaminated water could get on skin and other utensils.

However, whitebaiter Trevor Spriggs said Christchurch's whitebait was perfectly safe to eat as long as people followed proper hygiene practices, such as rinsing the whitebait in fresh water and keeping it separate from other foods.

He ate about 40kg of whitebait caught from the Heathcote River last year and gave more away to friends, and no-one he knew got sick from it, he said.

Most whitebaiters were careful and would not fish immediately after a sewage discharge occurred, and the waterways normally returned to safe levels within a couple of days, he said.

He acknowledged that the CDHB's warning might put some people off fishing in the Heathcote River, but said he wondered if their sample had been flushed with fresh water and how long it was held before it was tested.

"Anyone wanting to whitebait, [should] go out there and try it for themselves. If the hygiene standards are there, you won't have a problem."


http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/7749874/Chch-whitebaiters-risk-disease-DHB-warns
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« Reply #273 on: October 05, 2012, 01:13:12 am »


Clutha whitebait elusive

By HELENA DE REUS - Otago Daily Times | Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Whitebaiter John Witchall, of Ettrick, tries his luck at the Clutha River mouth yesterday. — Photo: Craig Baxter.
Whitebaiter John Witchall, of Ettrick, tries his luck at the Clutha River mouth yesterday. — Photo: Craig Baxter.

AT 78, John Witchall knows his fair share about whitebaiting.

Each year, the Ettrick man spends the season at the Clutha River mouth near Kaitangata, in South Otago.

The whitebait were few and far between yesterday, but that did not keep him away from the water.

And for good reason — he has a way to go before he matches his biggest catch, more than 100kg, at the mouth several years ago.

As he works his net, Mr Witchall exchanges banter with another "old timer", Balclutha man Toby Sellwood (66).

"All those other buggers should be at work — Toby and I are retired and we should be catching everything," he said, laughing.


Whitebaiters line up on the bank. — Photo: Craig Baxter.
Whitebaiters line up on the bank. — Photo: Craig Baxter.

Whitebaiters are tight-lipped about an alleged 38kg catch at the river mouth late last week.

The man believed to be the successful whitebaiter said he caught only 28kg, and the big catches were to be had on the other side of the river mouth.

Another whitebaiter, Craig, who declined to give his surname, said he and a friend caught 120kg of whitebait in 20 minutes in the surf two years ago.

Whitebaiters stayed at their favourite spots, resisting the temptation to try their luck on the other side.

"There will be a fight if we go over there, and a fight if they come over here. We keep to our own spots," Craig said.

The whitebait season, which opened on August 15, runs until November 30, except for the West Coast (September 01 to November 14). With daylight saving, fishing is now restricted to 6am-9pm.


http://www.odt.co.nz/regions/south-otago/228442/clutha-whitebait-elusive
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« Reply #274 on: October 05, 2012, 01:13:23 am »


Whitebaiters urged to play fair

By DON FARMER - Wairarapa Times-Age | Wednesday, 03 September 2012

NET WORK: The whitebaiters were out in force to find a feed at the mouth of Lake Onoke last week. — GORDON WYETH/Wairarapa Times-Age.
NET WORK: The whitebaiters were out in force to find a feed at the mouth of
Lake Onoke last week. — GORDON WYETH/Wairarapa Times-Age.


WHITEBAITERS are generally behaving themselves and most are netting a feed in the process, the Department of Conservation says.

Ranger Tony Silbery said some had landed close to 1kg a day and "most have at least got enough for a couple of fritters".

Compliance with the rules had generally been good and no prosecutions were pending: "A few people have got a long view of what being no further than 10m from their net means, though."

Mr Silbery said whitebaiters should remember they must play fair and let some bait through or the fishery would eventually collapse.

A "few ratbags" who tried to block off culverts or fish out of hours were around and would "get to see us sooner or later".

Hours set by the rules meant the whitebait had at least some time to make it from the sea to their destination, giving them a chance to mature and ultimately ensure the species' survival.


http://www.times-age.co.nz/news/whitebaiters-urged-to-play-fair/1567930



Lean catches in season’s first month

By REBEKAH FRASER - The Greymouth Star | Wednesday, 03 September 2012

TRYING THEIR LUCK: Whitebaiting in Westland.
TRYING THEIR LUCK: Whitebaiting in Westland.

THE fishing fortunes of whitebaiters have not changed, as bad weather continues to hamper the first month of the season.

One stand on the Hokitika River is rumoured to have netted 44kg on Sunday, but otherwise, decent catches are few and far between.

Department of Conservation Hokitika community relations ranger Inger Perkins said the rivers had been relatively quiet since the season began on September 01.

“The weather hasn’t been helping, with rough seas and heavy rain events. We haven’t heard of any big catches.”

Rangers had been dealing with some whitebaiters who had breached regulations for the fishery.

“There has been some general non-compliance with the West Coast regulations, for example not using screens from the water’s edge, walking away from nets, that sort of thing. We are urging whitebaiters to comply with the regulations and to come and ask us if they are not sure.”

DOC Franz Josef-Waiau area community relations ranger Cornelia Vervoorn said she was unaware of any big catches so far in South Westland.

“One or two kilograms is the most that has been reported in a day, but otherwise people have been happy to get just enough for a pattie.”

The poor catches were partly due to the poor weather, she said.

“Generally, compared to other seasons, it’s been comparatively quiet on the rivers.”

Rangers were pleased to see that whitebaiters had been “playing by the rules, by and large”. “Though we’d remind visitors to the Coast to ensure they are familiar with the West Coast (Whitebait Fishing) Regulations so they don’t get caught out,” Ms Vervoorn said.


http://www.greystar.co.nz/content/lean-catches-season%E2%80%99s-f%E2%80%8Airst-month
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