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What if there were only 34 more whitebait harvests left?

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, August 19th, 2016 - 78 comments
Categories: activism, Conservation, disaster, Environment, farming, Maori Issues, science, sustainability, water - Tags: , , , ,

Whitebait season opened this week. Not for the last time. Yet.

whitebait harvests left

Graphic by Stella McQueenvia Alison Ballance 

“We’ve seen this increase in a number of our fresh water fishes becoming endangered. So 1990 20% of our forty native fishes were endangered. Now around 75% of them are endangered. We need to protect them so that they can be there for the future”.

– Al Fleming, Forest and Bird.

“Mana o Te Wai is the term we use for the life force or the power of the river. Yes, it was the lifeblood of our people.

“All our marae are next to awa and we absolutely believe that it must be more than wadeable or swimmable, it must be drinkable – it is the food source and the lifeblood of our people and we need to restore that.”

– Marama Fox, Māori Party.

We are living in a time of unparalleled environmental destruction: in one generation most of our freshwater fish have made the threatened species list and unless we act quickly they will be all but gone in another generation. As with most other environmental problems there is a lag period and we are now seeing the impacts of previous decades of unsustainable land-use hit home. Even if we stop the destruction right now and start protecting our freshwater ecosystems, these species’ declines will continue for some time.

To save our freshwater heritage we need amendments made to the freshwater fisheries regulations and to the Wildlife Act, and we must have effective regulations put in place in the agricultural sector. Government-employed and funded freshwater scientists’ hands are tied with political tape, meaning these changes must come from the people.

So rise up all those who want their grandchildren to see native fish and have swimmable rivers. Target the environment, fisheries, State-owned enterprises and conservation ministers, councils and Fonterra and tell them we refuse to accept the loss of our fish and our rivers.

We can have a strong farming industry and clean waters but not when the emphasis is on unlimited increases in production. There is a limit to what the land can produce sustainably and what waste the rivers can assimilate and that point has long since been passed in many parts of New Zealand.

Mike Joy and Amber McEwan, Massey University

Loss of spawning habitat: identify spawning sites, fence riparian strip, planting/maintenance, monitor success

Loss of adult habitat: restore fish passage at culverts, restore access, monitor success; fence and plant riparian zones, monitor success.

Stella McQueen, native fish geek and freshwater fish expert.

New Zealand Native Fish activism on FB, and twitter.

78 comments on “What if there were only 34 more whitebait harvests left?”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    The ability to treat fresh water with the utmost respect, as opposed to as just another resource to be mined out, is the mark of a civilisation interested in long term survival.

  2. Kimberley 2

    Oops – looks like you have credited the infographic to Alison when it was actually made by Stella. 🙂

    • weka 2.1

      I was hoping the via thing would be read as a source of the graphic not the creator. I did think it was Stella’s but couldn’t find anything definitive (am guessing she’s not big on blowing her own horn, and the original is probably lost on FB by now). I’ll amend the post, thanks.

  3. vto 3

    Havelock is the canary in the mine for NZ….

    no fresh clean water in the aquifers…
    can’t go down the river for fresh clean water…

    Hawke’s Bay has no clean water

    shuddering

    • weka 3.1

      Snap. And we must resist the idea that chlorination of all towns is the solution.

      • corokia 3.1.1

        Of course the priority must be to clean up the water, but because that won’t happen instantly, why must chlorination be resisted? Surely better than getting sick?

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          Emergency chlorination is fine. Chlorinating all towns prophylactly (as has been suggested this week) is setting us up to abandon water absolutely to the polluters.

      • vto 3.1.2

        Havelock may be an opportunity to highlight the National Party’s mindset on water………

        Get a whole bunch of sick kids down the river throwing up and being sick, but happily ‘wading’ amongst the dead fish ….

        It is truly unbelievable that Hawkes Bay has no clean water. None. And worse to come with greater intensity from Ruataniwha Dam proposed.

        Bleeargh… burnt landscape barren and devoid of life drying in drought, and dirty polluted water unsafe for anything human both under the ground and above the ground.

        unbelievable

        • weka 3.1.2.1

          I think the Māori Party are the only party openly stating that rivers and lakes need to be drinkable. Yet another reason why the left needs to be ready for the possibility of them helping form a left wing govt.

  4. b waghorn 4

    Shortening the season would be a more saleable option , keeping the pressure on for wet land and river fencing is a must , of course we should eradicate the trout but good luck with that.

    • weka 4.1

      I was wondering about a season every 3 years instead of every year. Don’t they do that with things like toheroa? And with the idea that the longer it takes to re-establish the ecosystems the more likely it is that it will become 5 years or 8 years etc. Get the whitebaiters to push for riparian planting.

      Not sure about trout, would be interested to see the science on that. It’s hard to imagine how you could remove a freshwater species, is there a precedent for that?

      • AB 4.1.1

        Very difficult to eliminate trout where natural spawning areas are available and political suicide as so many quite ordinary people enjoy trout fishing as recreation. You could eliminate them from lakes where they are artificially stocked due to a lack of natural spawning areas – such as many of the Rotorua lakes and the Kai-iwi lakes in Northland. But such lakes have no open egress to the sea and no whitebait runs as a result. Instead they tend to have landlocked varieties of the inanga.
        I’m not a fisheries scientist but it seems that maintaining the health of small coastal streams and creeks that are too small and too short to have a population of trout might be very important to whitebait survival.

      • b waghorn 4.1.2

        http://newzealandecology.org/nzje/2909.pdf

        It appears that the worst effect is on native fish without a sea stage in their life cycle but most of the evidence points to at least some effect on white bait species .

      • alwyn 4.1.3

        “season every 3 years instead of every year. Don’t they do that with things like toheroa”.
        Every 3 years? What a lovely thought. Here is a quote from a press release from the Primary Industries Ministry about a year ago.

        “The toheroa fishery was closed across the country in 1982 after a massive reduction in numbers. It is illegal to harvest, disturb or possess toheroa without a customary permit”
        http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1506/S00112/tuatua-collectors-threatening-prohibited-toheroa.htm
        Can anyone remember what toheroa soup was like?

    • McFlock 4.2

      Why eradicate trout?

      • weka 4.2.1

        they’re an aggressive predator on endangered native species.

        • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1

          you keep trout in waterways because the people who care about trout keep those waterways very clean for the trout.

          Further, let’s not get on the high horse about eliminating trout because native species. You’ll have a massive political fight on your hands from people who are otherwise and in every way, fresh water conservationists.

          • AB 4.2.1.1.1

            “because the people who care about trout keep those waterways very clean for the trout”
            Yes – it’s no coincidence that Fish and Game are some of the strongest advocates for clean rivers and lakes. And similarly it’s no coincidence that there is opposition amongst the polluters to requiring a water quality standard that is high enough to support trout populations.
            I’m all for keeping trout out of waterways where their recreational value is marginal or the access for recreation is poor. But I don’t see the point of alienating trout fishers who on the whole are passionate about water quality and would not want to see any native fish species driven to extinction like the NZ grayling.

          • b waghorn 4.2.1.1.2

            Your right of course it would be madness for a political party run with this , i just love pointing out peoples’ selectiveness of thought when it suits them.
            that and the tweedy hoity ness around trout

            • weston 4.2.1.1.2.1

              not everybody is tweedy hoiti etc who love to fish for trout wags there was a really interesting down to earth passionate about rivers guy on rnz quite recently talking about how he’d fished all sorts of rivers for a very long time and was obviously very upset in a pragmatic kinda way about the decline of our waterways .we need people like him cause he knows ! an its not just a band waggon he’s jumping on .I totally agree with others comments that getting rid of trout is not an option that any sane conservationist let alone polly should consider.

              • b waghorn

                I don’t mind flicking a spinner on a summers day my self but i’ll be fucked if i’m going to pay $120 for two or three days a year in the country of my birth.

                • weka

                  The structure of the fishing licence burns me too. The part year licences are designed for international tourists with dosh. Fish and Game should have a separate policy for residents/citizens.

          • weka 4.2.1.1.3

            you keep trout in waterways because the people who care about trout keep those waterways very clean for the trout.

            yes and no. Most people fishing for trout don’t own the land the river runs through, have no control over riparian plantings, and I doubt that they change their vote on the basis of river water quality.

            Further, let’s not get on the high horse about eliminating trout because native species. You’ll have a massive political fight on your hands from people who are otherwise and in every way, fresh water conservationists.

            I tend to agree (go for controlling rather than eradication), but again, let’s not fudge the fact that there are lots of people that use rivers who don’t know what is happening to the river, and/or who have different values. I wouldn’t describe them as water conservations in every way. If all whitebaiters were concerned about the fish, they’d voluntarily stop.

            Did you look at the graphic? The freshwater scientists are saying that to stop whitebait going extinct we need to protect habitat, but because of the lag issue, whitebaiting needs to stop in the meantime as well.

            • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.3.1

              I don’t know how you expect the word get out from “freshwater scientists” to the people who actually white bait.

              You launch a good information and enforcement campaign, say a 5 year moratorium on whitebaiting, and it will happen.

              The people who get their food from these waterways are more conservation minded, on average, than office dwelling townies.

              • weka

                “The people who get their food from these waterways are more conservation minded, on average, than office dwelling townies.”

                That’s bigotry on both counts. Not all whitebaiters think the same or have the same conversation values, and not all townies do either.

                Follow one of the links in the post to the commercial eeler. Doesn’t believe there is a problem with species decline. That’s a common enough attitude in my experience.

                “I don’t know how you expect the word get out from “freshwater scientists” to the people who actually white bait.”

                No idea what you mean there. Freshwater scientists and people who fish aren’t mutually exclusive groups, and what I have heard from the scientists is being addressed to NZ in general, of which whitebaiters are a part (they have the internet too you know). Of course any change will ahve to be government led along with education. At the moment the scientists are calling for public debate and action. Which is the right thing to do.

                • Colonial Viper

                  *Shrug* you like your own kind of bigotry, but dress it up as enlightened judgement.

                  Follow one of the links in the post to the commercial eeler. Doesn’t believe there is a problem with species decline. That’s a common enough attitude in my experience.

                  Your experience is valid but my experience is bigtory?

                  Cheers.

                  I suppose the man’s family and his mortgage depend on his job. Just like the workers working offshore Taranaki mining gas have families and mortgages which depend on their job. And how dairy farmers who took on too much debt have to keep pushing their cows and their land harder and harder.

                  What alternative are we giving to these people, instead of pointing fingers at them?

                  I don’t suppose you have mortgage payments which depend on a commercial fishery, weka?

                  • weka

                    When you make a point based on assigning a group of people the same thoughts or values, that’s a kind of prejudice (townies all think this, whitebaiters all think that). You are prejudging those people based on the group they belong to (whereas in fact those groups both think a range of things.

                    On the other hand, I point to a man who doesn’t believe eels are in decline and I say in my experience that’s common enough. In other words when I listen to the people I meet that’s something I hear a fair amount of the time. I don’t think that all eelers think that, or that all none eelers thinks something different. Where is the prejudice?

                    I suppose the man’s family and his mortgage depend on his job. Just like the workers working offshore Taranaki mining gas have families and mortgages which depend on their job. And how dairy farmers who took on too much debt have to keep pushing their cows and their land harder and harder.

                    Well duh. Of course. There is nothing in what I have said that says that people aren’t entitled to make a living, or that their need to make a living influences their policies. I’ve even said in this thread that the whitebait issues needs an economic solution as well.

                    The jobs vs environment polarity is a tired old trope, we’re well past that. No reason we can’t have both.

                    All I did was use the eeler as an example that suggests your idea that whitebaiters are all conservationists is wrong. I didn’t say anything about his valid need to make a living. But since you brought it up, he has a right to make a living, but if the eels are going extinct they are going extinct whether he pays his mortgage or not. And whether he believes they are or not.

                    “I don’t suppose you have mortgage payments which depend on a commercial fishery, weka?”

                    Apparently my income is dependent on the manufacture of cluster bombs. What is your point? That commerical fishers with mortgages make better conservationists? Pull the other one.

                  • Pat

                    have you seen this?
                    http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1000683.shtml

                    ..there comes a point (well past in this case) where its time to bite the bullet and accept that it is no longer an option

      • b waghorn 4.2.2

        Why eradicate the mustelids of the water ways? , i guess you have to decide whether native fish are as important as kiwis etc.

        • McFlock 4.2.2.1

          Unlike weasels, trout are restricted to their waterways, so you can actually have some trout-free waterways and some trout waterways.

          • weka 4.2.2.1.1

            What about sea run trout? What would be an example of trout-free? catchments above dams?

            • McFlock 4.2.2.1.1.1

              no idea.
              I just get pissed off with the idea that the only animals that should be on our land or in our waterways should be “native”. Thar and Auckland Island pigs come to mind.

              • weka

                Well yes. I don’t buy the whole absolute eradication thing either. It’s not possible or practicable, and we’d have to get rid of Pākehā who are one of the biggest threats due to habitat destruction.

                • b waghorn

                  oh come on now weka us honkies only continued maoris proud heritage of burning and extinction.

                  • weka

                    Lolz. I hear the story a different way. Māori reached the limits of their overshoot and then adjusted culturally to put practices in place to maintain a better degree of sustainabiity. Pākehā haven’t come close to recognising their overshoot let alone doing something serious about it. We have good strong conservation values, but too many other things trump them. Hence Hastings, whitebait, wadable rivers, species decline, climate change, mining, deforestation, on and on.

          • mauī 4.2.2.1.2

            Don’t know about that, I would say they are almost everywhere. From Te Ara:

            They established themselves rapidly where they were released – and also spread by going out to sea and swimming up other rivers.

    • joe90 4.3

      From a couple of years ago

      [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/twu/twu-20111029-1215-trout_1_anders_halverson-048.mp3" /]

      The rainbow trout’s one of the world’s most popular recreational fish. Anders Halverson is the author of ‘An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World’.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/thiswayup/audio/2501238/trout-1-anders-halverson

      Reviewed.

      http://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/books/an-entirely-synthetic-fish-rainbow-trout-ecological-bully/

  5. Adrian 5

    Thanks for this informative piece, why white baiting is still legal I have no idea, in my view it is like hunting Kiwi chicks.

    Several years ago I interviewed Dr R. M. (Bob) McDowall, ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McDowall ) who was New Zealand’s foremost freshwater fish guru, during this interview I asked him what the long term prognosis for NZ freshwater fish…he said, without pause, extinction for most species.
    What would be the main contributing factors? again without pause, farming, loss of environment, trout and white-baiting.
    At the time he was employed by NIWA I think, and he asked if this part of the conversation to be off the record, it was more a dialogue between one NZ freshwater enthusiast to another, however I think he would not mind me remembering this conversation for you now.

    Can anyone imagine using white bait for fertilizer? well in some harbors, bays and estuaries at the turn of last century in NZ they where so full of white bait, this was done.
    In Taupo the smelt and white bait could be so dense that in particularly heavy storms the fish would wash up the shores in huge numbers, they where gathered and consumed by the local Maori as a major source of protein.

    And now?
    Well I now live in the Hawkes Bay, here the Trout (weasels of the waterways) and farming have absolutely devastated the local NZ native fresh water fish populations.
    I know of only a handful of small populations of Banded Kokopu in the Bay.
    Still we allow people to devastate the fry of our NZ fresh water fish populations every year during white bait season, the situation is completely insane.
    Why we protect an introduced (and keep introducing) foreign attack predator (trout) into a native environment, that have NO natural protection against this fast growing and aggressive predator is again, completely insane, and can only end one way.

    • weka 5.1

      They say that the tuna used to be like sandflies. I think it’s very hard for use to imagine this now, we are so used to the environment being the way that it is. At best some of use are old enough to remember before industrial dairy, which is still not a very high standard.

      It’s hard see a trout eradication programme. I would see trout as similar to deer. Such an important part of the culture that we need to find a work around (eg limiting numbers, increasing habitat for native species etc) rather than going for a hard out ban.

  6. save nz 6

    Great post.

  7. Pat 7

    overwhelming evidence or sensory overload?

  8. Siobhan 9

    I wonder how this sits with Nationals ‘Predator Free’ gerfuffle. One of the key factors in Native species demise is Trout. Trout are an amazing predator fish, and predator fish are the smartest, so on a personal level I do like them. And they taste nice with lemon.

    But they do not belong in NZ.

    Our encouragement of Trout fisheries would be like maintaining and encouraging possums for hunters at the sure risk of wiping out Kiwi

    I am not sure we could ever become Trout free, even if that were possible, some fishermen would probably maintain a tank load somewhere and keep feeding them out into the environment.

    However we could have some catchments Trout free, as designated reserves, well policed. And we can stop all breeding programs that plant new fish in so called ‘desirable’ spots.

    It’s easy isn’t it, to tell other Nations which animals and fish they should be protecting…but when it comes to making the hard calls in our own backyard, suddenly it’s ‘complicated’.

    • b waghorn 9.1

      If the need for a licence was removed and we stopped releasing trout (which doc does wtf?) Their numbers would rapidly sink to a sustainable number.

    • weka 9.2

      “Our encouragement of Trout fisheries would be like maintaining and encouraging possums for hunters at the sure risk of wiping out Kiwi”

      Or deer 😉

    • Graeme 9.3

      I can remember my Grandfather talking about catching Grayling in streams around Taranaki in the late 1800s. He and his brother were mad trout fishermen but would really get going when they talked about the Grayling they caught as kids, said they were a much better sport fish than trout. They said the grayling went as soon as the trout were introduced.

  9. Feral Monk 10

    Here in Westland the biggest threat in my opinion to bait is the black market economy. When you can sell one kg of bait for $50 cash you have a big problem. Why stop at a feed for the family when you can get a new car, appliances, land, whatever.
    No one is going to put their hand up and say they caught a ton of whitebait in the season, but believe me it happens.
    So all those people on the river 24/7 are there for the leisure and recreation, yeah nah.

  10. Feral Monk 11

    If you took the economic reward factor away I think there would be a lot less people keen on whitebaiting. There are stand over tactics and violence over prime fishing spots. People camped on the rivers the whole season. People taking time off work. Why? Because its a good earner.
    If I own a local restaurant I can sell whitebait patties. All I have to do is claim I caught it myself. No records, nothing.
    Try doing that with other fish species.

  11. Adrian 12

    Education would be the first step in the right direction, mainly children I think, as most adults seem to think it is their right to take what they want from the streams and ocean, although why wouldn’t they when they have the law on their side.
    Imagine a whole generation of children growing up learning at depth all about our beautiful native fresh water (and salt water for that matter) fish, by giving these species the same place in their consciences as native birds, I am pretty sure that when that generation became adults, armed with these facts, things would start changing.

  12. roy cartland 13

    Wade-able, swimmable, drinkable: these are all standards lower than what most fish can survive at. Just because and adult human can drink it, does not mean an ecosystem can survive in it. We need higher standards than any party is promoting.
    (I got all that and more from Mike Joy’s lecture.)

    • weka 13.1

      Nice one roy. Do you know how they would measure that? eg via number of species? Or tests?

      • Draco T Bastard 13.1.1

        Do you know how they would measure that?

        In parts per million per contaminant.

  13. Cricklewood 14

    Completely anecdotal but my family has whitebaited in the same Manawatu stream for 50 + years and kept catch records of sorts. Whilst the catches now are less than the we 30-50 years ago there has been a real increase in the last decade compared to the 90’s and early 2000’s conciding with stream bank and wetland protection so I think that there is real hope.
    I would like to see whitebait bought in line with other fish species in nz in that you can catch for your own consumption but you can’t sell them.
    Given the part they play in the economy in certain parts of the country I would allow non transferable quota to be issued on a case by case basis with the quota expiring with the holder….the quantum of said quota would be determined by measuring declared income from whitebaiting in their previous tax returns…

  14. Rae 15

    Having spent several years in the land of whitebait on the west coast, (in fact if I am not mistaken that photo on the home page is from the Turnbull River on the Haast-Jackson Bay Road) I did indulge in whitebaiting, and I admit, loved it, still could, but I have come to realise in the last 10 or so years that it is unsustainable as it is. And as someone else mentioned trout do eat a fair number of them but not 10s, sometimes hundreds of kilos of them, as can be taken from the water by one fisher on a stand in a day.
    It bothers me that we can deal in a native water species but not an introduced one (trout), and try selling hundreds of kereru and see where it gets you. Why do we treat the rivers and sea differently from the land?
    I think at least a moratorium needs to be held, maybe river by river, but the fish will not survive if their breeding grounds are stuffed up, they breed in flooded grassy areas.

  15. mauī 16

    I have found it weird that 4 of the 5 whitebait fish species are threatened with extinction, yet fisherman basically have no restrictions on catching the young of these species, and basically strip mine them out of the water. Eeling is even worse in that respect as our native long finned eel is such a big animal you would think someone would have noticed that this is an incredibly stupid idea to commercially fish them. The system is driving these species to extinction through sheer stupidity and greed, it has to come to an end.

    Another conservationist, Peter Langlands, has a different conservation approach though, and that is to continue fishing but have increased observers of what species and how much people are catching and encourage people to record what they catch. I guess the idea is you know much more about what is happening to the whitebait and any changes taking place so you can react. Even though I don’t agree with the continue on whitebaiting idea, the approach does have some merit.

    • Cricklewood 16.1

      I think a lot can be done without completely stopping the take and getting an idea of catch and fishery health is important.
      Why not have a bag limited measured by weight? Personal consumption only etc.
      I thinks these more basic changes should be implemented before bans are instituted….

  16. b waghorn 17

    http://tvnz.co.nz/country-calendar/episode-30-milk-and-water-6403967
    These fullas are doing a great job of bringing back bait

  17. Pat 18

    another casualty of growth….back in the day day when population was smaller and access to market difficult there was no issue,,,add increased population, tourism and mobility and we see yet another raping of resource to its extinction.

  18. weston 19

    Complete ban on commercial take and the sooner the better ,As a first step this would show the people that the situation is serious after that education education education and a daily limit .

  19. Sorry to have missed this thread – it’s a favourite topic, in fact today, while I was pruning apple trees and talking to a group of farmer’s wives farmers who are women about gardening, I was wearing a t-shirt I designed and printed that reads, “Save the whitebait – practise catch and release”
    Our Te Wai Korari wetland was designed for whitebait especially, with waterways carved for the use of galaxids. I have a question for all whitebaiters: what do you do to increase the population of whitebait? What actions do you take to ensure the fish don’t decline in number? Do you indulge in a purely extractive industry, or do you enhance the “fishery”? I’d love to hear from a baiter with responses to my questions, if some would be so kind.

    • Cricklewood 20.1

      I’ll reply, we participated in the stream bank replanting around 20 yrs ago seems to have really made a difference….
      Also planted a few oioi among other things under my own steam when I lived in the Hutt valley…. biggest problem in the Hutt was the council insisting on putting the dozers into the river bed every second year at precisely the wrong time.
      A lot of the guys I became familiar with on the Hutt actually cared about the river and the fishery with most taking a bag of rubbish away every trip was kinda told that was expected when I first arrived in the Hutt.

      • Robert Guyton 20.1.1

        Thanks, Cricklewood. It’s good to hear that some ‘baiters do somethings to at least improve the habitat a bit. Taking rubbish away seems a given but planting seems a greater commitment to the fish and good on you for making the effort. The vast majority of ‘baiters don’t take proactive measures, imo, and just harvest. They may care about the fish but few act on their concerns. There’s an issue on the Aparima with humanure disposal from ‘baiters staying over in their huts for weeks on end. Longdrops aren’t ideal beside a river. I know it’s tricky, finding a way to grow the whitebait fishery, but I’m surprised the whitebaiters haven’t formed “care” groups to do just that.

        • Cricklewood 20.1.1.1

          Yuck, I have to think that removing the commercial imperative will help solve some of the problems you describe. If it’s not financially advantageous people won’t be inclined to camp on the river. Or bring in a limited quota and as part of having said quota you need to put x percent of revenue to replanting.
          Whitebaiters can be a funny bunch and getting them to work together would possibly be more difficult than herding cats….

          • Robert Guyton 20.1.1.1.1

            “…like herding cats…” the story of humanity, that. Getting humankind to combine their efforts to restore the health of the non-human world is …like herding cats…

            I often wondered if whitebait caught in polluted rivers is sold in cities to people who have no way of knowing where it came from. Bet it happens a lot. So long as you fillet and gut them, they’ll be safe to eat 🙂

            • Cricklewood 20.1.1.1.1.1

              Bound to be although I’m not sure that whitebait are very plentiful in heavily polluted waterways and they tend to run when rivers are well flushed by winter rain. That said I used to watch them run up the whaiwhetu stream which is/ was the most polluted stream in the country. Full of heavy metals etc from the exide factory.
              There was a massive clean up effort I’m assuming it has improved from where it was but no one was silly enough to whitebait in it….

              • Whitebait plentiful in polluted NZ rivers? Yes, because they return to the river of their origin, no matter what. No one silly enough to bait in a polluted stream? I’m remembering the Avon river ‘event’ where people were baiting amongst the ‘brown trout’ that resulted from the broken sewers caused by the earthquakes. Good money, those whitebait, no questions asked.

  20. Observer Tokoroa 21

    .
    . Hi Weka – Hi VTO
    . Good Posts

    . Exactly how does Havelock / Hastings get shit in its water?
    . Do they enjoy shit in their water?

    . Can we really talk about fish when the water is poisoned?
    . Can we really talk about healthy people when there is poison in the water?

    . How third world is Napier / Hastings?

    . Why in the name of common sense do we not hold leaders responsible for their bad management? Men and women who poison the water, or allow others to poison the water, should be given a long term place in prison. Shouldn’t they !

    . poor Tuki Tuki …. death is your destiny …. killed by bad bad evil humans.

    .

    .

  21. keith ross 22

    don’t lose sight of the real problem that is the fresh water is no longer fresh! The dairy farmers and other intense farming practices are the enemy of fresh water not the animals that live in it. Fix the problem and we all know what the real reason is. Intensive farming and govt policy. When I was a kid we used to swim in rivers all over the lower south island but thanks to the farmers and the govt I can’t take my kids to the same places or hardly any where round here. I would never of believed that we could aspire to having rivers to be wade-able in New Zealand, It is a national disgrace and nationals disgrace as well(labour aren’t free from blame either).

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